TACOMA, Wash. — A plaintiff presents general evidence of proximity to asbestos while in the Dutch merchant marine but never links it to the defendant in question, a federal judge in Washington state said Oct. 15 (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178301).
TACOMA, Wash. — After an asbestos plaintiff sought sanctions for an automobile parts company’s alleged lack of compliance with federal court-ordered discovery, the company fired back Oct. 16, explaining its limited documentary evidence and portraying reliance on employee memory as a good-faith effort at a response (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash.).
BALTIMORE — A trial court erred in dismissing a widow’s asbestos action based on incomplete discovery responses, and nothing in the judge’s discovery order required her to attempt to locate and produce fact witnesses for depositions, a Maryland court held Oct. 4 (Carole Colvin, et al. v. Eaton Corp., et al., No. 2103 September Term 2016, Md. Spec. App.).
LONDON — A study published Oct. 10 in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine by two well-known plaintiffs’ experts claims that tissue digestion studies on six individuals produced asbestos fibers believed to contaminate consumer talcum powder products
ST. LOUIS — Johnson & Johnson kicked off a wide-reaching challenge to a $4.69 billion asbestos-talc ovarian cancer verdict by calling joint trial of 22 women’s claims covering 32 years of alleged exposure “patently irrational” in its Sept. 6 opening brief to a Missouri appeals court (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. ED 107476, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.).
SEATTLE — After two parties to an asbestos action reached a $4.5 million covenant judgment assigning insurance rights to the plaintiffs, those plaintiffs and the insurer have briefed a Washington appeals court on the propriety of that judgment (Robert P. Ulbricht, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 79490-6, Wash. App., Div. 1).
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Sept. 9 returned a defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson in an asbestos-talc case that produced a mistrial more than one year ago, sources told Mealey Publications (Carolyn Weirick v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. BC656425, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
BALTIMORE — There are legitimate explanations for why an aircraft company didn’t timely produce fact witnesses, but none for asbestos plaintiffs’ “unfathomable” delay in seeking application of English law to their case, a federal judge in Maryland said Oct. 15 (Richard W. Fullen, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 17-207, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177984).
LOS ANGELES — An asbestos defendant challenging a take-home asbestos verdict confuses legal and factual foreseeability and ignores evidence supporting the imposition of a duty to prevent such exposures, a couple told a California appeals court on Sept. 20 (Alfred Mata v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. B293479, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — While they have not fully established jurisdiction, asbestos plaintiffs are far enough down that road to warrant further discovery, and the defendant has not eliminated the possibility that its products led to the man’s mesothelioma, a New York appeals court held Oct. 15 (Russell Leavitt and Joyce Leavitt v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 9959 190240/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7392).
SAN FRANCISCO — The lack of any evidence that a company knew of the dangers asbestos-containing brake products posed to end users requires reversing a $6 million punitive damage award in an asbestos-automotive-friction products case, the company told a California appeals court on Sept. 25 (Barbara Barr v. Parker-Hannifin Corp., et al., No. A156632, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
TACOMA, Wash. — A plaintiff offers only general allegations regarding exposure to asbestos and nothing linking a defendant to those exposures, a federal judge in Washington said Oct. 9 in granting summary judgment. The plaintiffs on Oct. 4 asked the court to sanction an automobile parts company for failing to comply with court-ordered discovery (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — The specifics of the New Mexico but-for causation standard and whether an asbestos expert’s testimony met it, as well as challenges to the verdict sheet preceding a $40 million verdict, came before the Delaware Supreme Court during oral arguments on Sept. 18 (In re: Asbestos Litigation, Ford Motor Co. v. Paula Knecht, et al. No. 90,2019, Del. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A judge erred in entering judgment for a defendant after a jury’s inconsistent asbestos verdict, but corrected the error in granting a new trial, a California appeals court held in affirming the latter ruling on Oct. 4 (Sharon Linsowe, et al. v. Hennessy Industries Inc., No. B276252, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — Conflicting expert opinions and the lack of mathematical modeling and other specifics regarding exposure to asbestos from Bakelite do not warrant summary judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 1 (Philip A. Lattanzio, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190298/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Whether a jury should have heard evidence about granite’s potential role in a man’s mesothelioma and whether its nearly $7 million verdict includes damage awards based on assumptions and mistaken analysis came before a California appellate panel with the filing of a Sept. 6 appellee brief (Kenneth Kramer v. 3M Co., No. A155821, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland federal judge admitted supplemental expert reports, saying any untimeliness was not prejudicial, found three plaintiffs’ experts’ testimony went beyond the opinion that each and every exposure led to disease, and denied an asbestos-friction defendant’s motion for summary judgment; all three rulings came Sept. 30 (John Dugger Jr., et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 16-3912, D. Md., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171168).
PHILADELPHIA — Boeing Co. fought off asbestos claims on Oct. 3, telling a federal judge in Pennsylvania that plaintiffs never grapple with the argument that they cannot establish successor liability (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Robert J. Kraus, et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent, et al., No. 18-2119, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS — Former Avondale Industries Inc. counsel’s legal action claiming that it dismantled and merged into another firm based on false assurances that a combined entity would continue representing the company in asbestos litigation heads back to state court after a federal judge in Louisiana on Sept. 27 found misrepresentation claims against nondiverse defendants sufficient (Lee & Perles LLP, et al. v. Resolute Management, et al., No. 19-11774, E.D. La.).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 4 declined rehearing, leaving stand an appellate court’s finding that an employee’s asbestos exposure met the standard for a gross negligence verdict (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 18-0056, Texas Sup.).