HOUSTON — Attempting to avoid asbestos-related liabilities for a former judge’s exposures in a courthouse, a Texas county in a Feb. 15 brief points to what it believes are several bars to the action in asking the court to reconsider its ruling (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A talc case originally filed in the New York County asbestos litigation docket will remain in a New Jersey federal court because a judge there on Feb. 14 found that the generalized allegations against a pharmacy make clear that the plaintiff joined it in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction (In re: Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Products Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Litigation, Ellen Gavin v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 17-5907, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25157).
ST. LOUIS — Evidence that two companies received talc from the same source does not warrant concluding that they are alter egos of each other, a federal judge in Missouri held Feb. 14 in denying remand of an asbestos-talc case and dismissing a defendant (Shawnee D. Douglas v. Imerys Talc America Inc., et al., No. 18-1141, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24729).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals court on Feb. 19 remanded a case involving a default judgment against an insulator’s insurer so that the trial court could explain why it set aside the more than $2 million judgment (Donna O’Balle v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., No. A151530, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 2, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1176).
SAN FRANCISCO — The First District California Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 determined that a trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting aside default judgments entered against an insured named as a defendant in asbestos exposure suits because the insurers were diligent in their investigation of the underlying claims after learning of the suits filed against their insured (Robert Ross v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154660; Willie Howard v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154662; Michael Steinberger v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154664; Monroe Amey v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154665; Robert Hanson v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154668; Joann Valladon v. Hartford Insurance Co., et al., No. A154671, Calif. App., 1st Dist., Div. 4).
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A trial court properly excluded lay testimony regarding asbestos lacking any educational or practical underpinning, a Tennessee appeals court held Feb. 12 (Gloria Andrews, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., No. E2018-00508-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App., 2019 Tenn. App. LEXIS 79).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Facing mounting asbestos injury litigation while maintaining that its talc product is safe, Johnson & Johnson supplier Imerys Talc America Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection Feb. 13 in Delaware federal bankruptcy court, seeking to continue its talc mining and distribution business and establish a trust to pay asbestos claims (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-bk-10289, D. Del. Bkcy.).
AKRON, Ohio — Sixth Circuit precedent clearly precludes liability for bare-metal manufacturers whose products were later outfitted with asbestos-containing parts, a federal judge in Ohio held Feb. 12 (Harold Brucker, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 16-206, N.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22643).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A $14 million asbestos damages award stands after the South Carolina Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 found that a contractor could not be considered a statutory employee because the maintenance work he performed differed sufficiently from the polyester fiber manufacturer’s core job, and that neither jury misconduct or prejudice contributed to the verdict (Angela Keene, et al. v. CNA Holdings LLC, No. 2016-000227, S.C. App., 2019 S.C. App. LEXIS 20).
HOUSTON — A Texas appellate court on Feb. 12 declined en banc reconsideration, leaving stand a ruling allowing a widow’s suit claiming that Jefferson County fatally exposed a former judge in its employ to asbestos (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insurer’s apparently honest late discovery of a policy covering a defunct company’s asbestos liabilities warrants vacating a quartet of default judgments and giving the insurer a chance to defend itself, a California appeals court held Feb. 1 (Marvin Londene v. Associated Insulation of California Inc., et al., No. A149605, John Baldwin, et al. v. Associated Insulation of California Inc., et al., No. A149607, Paula Tarjani, et al. v. Associated Insulation of California Inc., et al., No. A149610, Vonal Clyde v. Associated Insulation of California Inc., et al., No. A149612, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 832).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals improperly applied a single-factor test looking only at a plaintiff’s out-of-state use of an asbestos product in denying jurisdiction in a man’s case where there is no question that the defendant targeted the state, or that the man developed, was treated for and died of his mesothelioma in the state, a widow tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Jan. 29 petition for writ of certiorari (Sandra Waite, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., No. 18-998, U.S. Sup.).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A buyer assumed a seller’s talc-related liabilities, and any entitlement to indemnification from asbestos-related suits ceased after five years, a federal judge in Connecticut held Jan. 31 (Parfums de Coeur Ltd v. Conopco Inc., No. 18-749, D. Conn.).
NEW YORK — A contractor impermissibly attempts to shift the burden of proving liability rather than eliminate the potential for asbestos liabilities, a New York justice held Jan. 18 in denying summary judgment (Franco Ombramonti v. Aluminum Co. of America, et al., No. 190127/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 309).
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four asbestos plaintiffs on Jan. 22 asked the California Supreme Court for review after a state appeals court found that a trial judge properly set aside millions of dollars in default judgments against a defunct company’s insurer (William Mechling, et al. v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., No. S253687, Calif. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A company’s renewed motion for summary judgment fails to raise any new facts or evidence about its potential use of asbestos-containing flange gaskets and must be denied, a New York justice held Jan. 29 (George Benson, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190150/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Evidence that a man performed five brake jobs over nearly two decades, even assuming that Ford Motor Co. manufactured the products in question, is not enough to overcome summary judgment, a federal judge in Delaware held Jan. 25 (William J. Johansen v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-452, D. Del.; 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12199).
WILMINGTON, Del. — A man’s testimony that he would have used a defendant’s asbestos friction products on 10 occasions falls short of Delaware’s causation standard, a federal magistrate judge held Jan. 25 (In re Asbestos, Elizabeth Dove, et al. v. Boeing Co., et al., No. 17-56, D. Del., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12197).
ANDERSON, S.C. — A South Carolina jury found for two defendants, but hit a third with a $5,125,000 verdict, including punitive damages, on Jan. 25, sources told Mealey Publications (Rita Joyce Glenn, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 2015CP041607, S.C. Comm. Pls., 10th Jud. Cir., Anderson Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — Two experts’ passing references to a man’s work aboard a ship leave them impermissibly opining that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma, a federal judge in Louisiana held Feb. 5 in excluding the experts and granting summary judgment (Robert Schindler v. Dravo Basic Materials Co. Inc., No. 17-13013, E.D. La.).