HARRISBURG, Pa. — Reinsurance facultative certificates covered defense expenses in excess of a liability cap, a Pennsylvania appeals panel ruled Oct. 17, affirming that insurers were entitled to interest on certain proofs of loss for asbestos claims issued before 2013 (Century Indemnity Co. v. OneBeacon Insurance Co., No. 1280 EDA 2016, Pa. Super., 2017 Pa. Super. LEXIS 806).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An agreement resolving a couple’s asbestosis claim specifically envisions future mesothelioma claims as among the universe of potential claims and bars a subsequent suit, a federal judge in Louisiana held Oct. 13 (Lorita M. Savoie, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 15-1220, E.D. La., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169348).
BATON ROUGE, La. — Two companies cannot even agree on what their “plain meaning” interpretations of federal law would require, so their interpretations should be rejected in favor of a clear rule that deposition testimony triggers the period for removing an asbestos case, an asbestos plaintiff told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Oct. 11 (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A judge’s sister’s access and control over company documents while employed by a defendant require that the judge recuse herself from a case alleging asbestos contamination of talc and spoliation of evidence, the company claims in an Oct. 10 memorandum (Audrey Sampson, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. MID-L-5384-11AS, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
MINNEAPOLIS — A company existing for the last 30 years merely to litigate asbestos claims lacks the type of contacts in a state necessary to overcome diversity removal or to create jurisdiction in the state, a federal judge in Minnesota held Oct. 10 (Michael P. McGill, et al. v. Conwed Corp., No. 17-01047, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167165).
NEW YORK — An appeals court should vacate a provision of the new case management order allowing for punitive damages in asbestos cases and vacate or amend a provision governing how asbestos bankruptcy trust claims are handled, an amicus curiae group told the court on Oct. 10 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, All Asbestos Cases., No. 40000/1988 782000/2017, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — An insurer is not entitled to recover any amounts exceeding the “reinsurance accepted” amount set forth in reinsurance certificates, a New York appeals panel ruled Oct. 6 (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Alfa Mutual Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-00305, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7064).
MIAMI — The Florida Supreme Court should resolve a conflict in the state’s appellate courts and firmly reject the discredited “cumulative exposure” asbestos causation theory, a shipyard argues in an Oct. 9 petition (Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al. v. Rosa-Maria Britt, et al., No. SC17-1780, Fla. Sup.).
LOS ANGELES — A California judge overseeing the first asbestos-tainted consumer talc case against Johnson & Johnson declared a mistrial Oct. 10 after the plaintiff made reference to the potential link between asbestos-free talc and ovarian cancer, sources told Mealey Publications (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
DALLAS — A “direct, rifle-shot complaint” and footnote incorporating earlier arguments preserved challenges to the jury’s asbestos causation finding, an employer argues in a Sept. 28 motion asking a Texas appellate court for rehearing (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 8382).
WOBURN, Mass. — For the second time in nine days, a Massachusetts jury on Sept. 29 handed down a multimillion asbestos verdict, this time handing $6.8 million to a widow who claims that her deceased husband suffered exposure while serving as a part-time insulator while in school (Amy Ross, et al. v. New England Insulation Co., et al., No. 13-5580, Mass. Super., Middlesex Co.).
LOS ANGELES — Attorneys representing parties to the first asbestos-tainted talc case against Johnson & Johnson presented opening arguments Oct. 5 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, arguing over what the testing says about the source of the talc used in the company’s products and alternative sources of a woman’s mesothelioma (Tina Herford, et al. v. AT&T Corp., et al., No. BC646315, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A company unable to escape what it portrays as a “shotgun” asbestos complaint at the motion to dismiss stage has not shown that an interlocutory appeal is warranted or that it would help forward the litigation, a federal judge in North Carolina held Oct. 5 (Tommy Lineberger, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 16-390, W.D. N.C.).
NEW YORK — A manufacturer of brake-grinding machines had a duty to warn about the dangers the use of its machines with asbestos-containing brakes posed, a New York appellate court held Oct. 5 while also affirming a stipulated $9 million award (Walter Miller v. BMW of North America LLC, et al., No. 190087/2014, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHILADELPHIA — While portions of asbestos-talc experts’ testimony regarding the presence of asbestos and causation may arise from generally accepted scientific methodology, they deviate enough from those methodologies to exclude their opinions, a Pennsylvania judge held Sept. 25 (Sally Brandt, et al. v. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., et al., No. December Term, 2015, 2987, Pa. Comm Pls., Philadelphia Co.).
SEATTLE — A company cannot avoid discovery from its database simply by claiming that the resulting search would be “incomprehensible,” but a second company’s claim that it has no responsive documents in an asbestos case ends any debate, a federal judge in Washington held Sept. 19 (William C. Blosser, et al. v. Ashcroft Inc., et al., No. 17-5243, W.D. Wash.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Merely knowing of the presence of asbestos and its hazards is not enough to escape the state’s workers’ compensation exclusivity provision, a federal judge in North Carolina held Sept. 29 (Howard Milton Moore Jr., et al. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., et al., No. 16-157, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162517).
PHILADELPHIA — The bare-metal defense does not bar asbestos negligence actions under maritime law’s “bedrock principle” of protecting sailors, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Oct. 3 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation [No. VI], Roberta G. DeVries, et al. v. Buffalo Pumps Inc., et al., No. 16-2602, Shirley McAfee, et al. v. Ingersoll-Rand & Co., No. 16-2669, 3rd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — A defendant’s quick removal of an asbestos action precludes consideration of the forum of any unserved defendants, but is not the type of “snap removal” that is objectionable and absurd, a federal judge in Louisiana held Sept. 29 in denying remand (Margaret Leech, et la. V. 3M Co., et al., No. 17-446, E.D. La.).
BATON ROUGE, La. — The federal officer removal statute’s plain language unambiguously supports a conclusion that receipt of a deposition transcript, and not the deposition itself, triggers the time period for removing an asbestos case, two companies told a federal appellate court in Sept. 6 and Sept. 11 briefs (Curtis D. Morgan v. Dow Chemical Co., et al., No. 17-30523, 5th Cir.).