LOS ANGELES — A jury awarded $3.6 million in punitive damages without the necessary evidence that Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. could satisfy such a judgment, but the remainder of the verdict stands as the company mounted “very limited and highly generalized” testimony supporting the contention that it was insulated from liability by a sophisticated intermediary, a California appeals court held Feb. 15 (Donna Saller, et al. v. Crown Cork & Seal Company Inc., et al., No. B260277, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 1, 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1062).
SAN FRANCISCO — Plaintiffs’ premises liability allegations in an action against aircraft company are sufficiently detailed to permit the claims to go forward, but strict liability and negligence claims lack supporting evidence regarding the products in question or are barred by law, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Feb. 23 in partially reversing dismissal of a case (Titus May, et al. v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al., No. 15-56219, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3314).
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — A shop teacher was not negligently exposed to asbestos when he ground asbestos-containing brakes on Hennessy Industries Inc. grinding machines, a Madison County, Ill., jury decided Feb. 28 (Urban v. Borg-Warner Morse TEC Inc., No. 13-L-437, Ill. Cir., Madison Co.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California jury on Feb. 24 awarded $10,026,201 to a man who developed mesothelioma after exposure to asbestos while cutting and working with pipe. The jury found that CertainTeed Corp. knew of the risks but misrepresented the safety of its product and that its negligence contributed to the man’s disease (Michael B. Burch and Cindy Burch v. CertainTeed Corporation, et al., No. RG16819332, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida court ignored the “featherweight” causation standard applied in Jones Act cases while reversing a $10.3 million asbestos verdict against a cruise line, plaintiffs told the U.S. Supreme Court March 3 (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 16-1074, U.S. Sup.).
FRESNO, Calif. — A judge properly admitted expert testimony that every identifiable exposure to asbestos contributes to mesothelioma, a California appeals court held March 17, while also rejecting challenges involving tobacco use and an award of punitive damages (Charity Faith Phillips, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. F070761, Calif. App., 5th Dist.).
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah sued four asbestos trusts March 7 in state court seeking to force the trusts to cooperate with an investigation into whether the trusts are engaged in mismanagement and abuse of the asbestos trust system (State of Utah v. Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 170901496, Utah 3rd Dist., Salt Lake Co.).
NEW YORK — A bankruptcy court did not have the jurisdiction to determine that a premises liability claim against a subsidiary of Johns-Manville Corp. by a woman who has mesothelioma arose long before the subsidiary filed for bankruptcy protection, the woman argues in a Feb. 23 brief in her New York federal court appeal (Lynda Berry v. Graphic Packaging International, Inc., No. 16-5817, S.D. N.Y.).
NEW YORK — An asbestos action filed outside Wisconsin’s two-year window for suing Special Electric Co. Inc. after its dissolution is untimely, and an earlier motion to reopen and enforce its bankruptcy plan does not save the case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted March 21 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Thomas McGlynn v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190219/2016, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 900, In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, Bertle Stromholm, et al. v. Aerco International Inc., No. 190177/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chapter 11 debtor Kaiser Gypsum Co. on March 7 asked a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court for more time to file a plan of reorganization, two weeks after several insurance companies told the court the case should be dismissed because it was filed in bad faith (In re Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., et al., No. 16-31602, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
PITTSBURGH — Trustees for the asbestos trust established by the Chapter 11 case of Pittsburgh Corning Corp. (PCC) said March 17 in Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy court that they want to reopen the case to find out whether more than $9 billion in claims from a consolidated Texas litigation qualify for payment by the trust, which has assets of less than $4 billion (In re: Pittsburgh Corning Corporation, No. 00-22876, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An insurer cannot pursue arbitration against Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC and affiliates for a coverage dispute with a third-party manufacturer but can file a late proof of claim against the debtors without prejudice to its arbitration rights, according to a consent order filed March 16 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court (In re: Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al., No. 10-31607, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A bankruptcy judge “critically” erred by ruling on a motion to dismiss without construing the facts in favor of the nonmoving party, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) argues March 7 in New Jersey federal court in its fight to have former Chapter 11 debtor G-I Holdings Inc. pay for removing the company’s asbestos-containing material in authority buildings (New York City Housing Authority v. G-I Holdings Inc., No. 2:16-cv-7320, D. N.J.).
NEW YORK — General Motors LLC filed adversary complaints March 6 in five asbestos bankruptcy cases, including the landmark Johns-Manville Corp. case, in an effort to recover from asbestos trusts some of the money it has paid in workers’ compensation benefits to the widow of a longtime GM worker whose death was allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656 [General Motors LLC v. Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, et al., No. 1:17-ap-1032], S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEW YORK — A New York federal bankruptcy judge on March 2 denied summary judgment to both Chapter 11 debtor Rapid-American Corp. and two of its insurers in a dispute over whether a policy has a $10 million or $30 million limit for asbestos liability claims (Rapid-American Corporation, et al. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, et al., No. 15-01095, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A man’s evidence in a take-home exposure case alleges possible exposure from asbestos-containing automobile parts but never crosses into the probable, a California appellate panel held Feb. 2 (Billy S. Johnson v. ArvinMeritor, et al., No. A131975, Calif. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 762).
SEATTLE — An asbestos-insulation installer’s conduct and knowledge supports imposing a duty on it for take-home exposure of a woman who died on the eve of trial and a resulting $3.6 million verdict, a Washington appeals court on Jan. 23 (Estate of Barbara Brandes v. Brand Insulation Inc., No. 73748-1-I, Wash. App., Div. 1; 2017 Wash. App. LEXIS 111).
NEW YORK — A New York jury on Jan. 20 awarded $75 million to a husband and wife for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted as a result of asbestos exposure related to his love of cars and drag racing (Marlena F. Robaey and Edward Robaey v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190276/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court on Feb. 14 agreed to hear a woman’s case claiming that state law imposes liability for take-home asbestos exposures, according to the court’s docket (Mary Quiroz, et al. v. Alcoa Inc., et al., No. 16-0248, Ariz. Sup.).
NEW YORK — A plaintiff must agree to a reduced asbestos award of $7 million from $22 million and discontinue or drop his recklessness claim or face a new trial on those issues, a New York justice held Feb. 14 (Frank Gondar v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190079-2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).