WILMINGTON, Del. — Two companies’ attempt to corral 2,400 state court talc and asbestos actions into Delaware federal bankruptcy court based on the Chapter 11 filing of their main talc supplier, Imerys Talc America Inc., has resulted in 346 cases that they removed in anticipation of the transfer being remanded back to the state courts, the Official Committee of Tort Claimants tells a Delaware federal judge in a June 6 letter to supplement the record (In re: Imerys Talc America, Inc., et al., No. 1:19-mc-00103, D. Del.).
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After three years of litigation and with trial a month away, equitable factors warrant remanding a mesothelioma case claiming that Johnson & Johnson consumer talc products contained asbestos, a federal judge in Kentucky said June 6 (Cynthia Hayes, et al v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., et al., No. 19-316, W.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95127).
TACOMA, Wash. — The Washington state Supreme Court should be allowed to weigh in about the timing and validity of wrongful death asbestos actions when no survival action remains timely, a widow tells a federal judge in the state in a June 10 motion (Sherri L. Deem, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-5965, W.D. Wash.).
NEW ORLEANS — Saying that the circuit’s “outlier” causal analysis test “cannot be reconciled” with 2011 amendments to the federal officer removal statute, a shipyard on June 7 asked an en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to use an asbestos case to bring its precedent in line with other courts (James A. Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 18-30652, 5th Cir.).
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania law requiring businesses consent to jurisdiction when registering to do business in the state is unconstitutional and violates Daimler AG v. Bauman, the federal judge in Pennsylvania who oversees the asbestos federal multidistrict litigation held June 6 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Jackie L. Sullivan, et al. v. A.W. Chesterton Inc., et al., No. MDL 875, 18-3622, E.D. Pa.).
TACOMA, Wash. — While “very, very thin,” a co-worker’s testimony regarding the presence of a manufacturer’s products aboard ships and the close, dusty conditions in which they worked save a widow’s asbestos case, a federal judge in Washington held June 7 (Donald Varney, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5105, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96215).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 5 said she “strongly questions” whether an asbestos-talc case against Johnson & Johnson more than remotely relates to its talc-supplier’s bankruptcy and concluded that equity issues, including a quicker timeline to trial and the existence of state law claims, require granting an emergency motion to remand the two-year-old action (Lorraine O’Riorden v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 19-751, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93865).
NEW YORK — Nothing in a talc supplier’s bankruptcy warrants keeping 27 asbestos-talc cases against Johnson & Johnson in federal court, a judge in New York said in remanding the actions June 4 (In re: Various removed state court actions against, inter alia, Johnson & Johnson (State Court Talc Actions), No. 19-3530, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95445).
CAMDEN, N.J. — Allegations that a California incorporated asbestos defendant operating in Connecticut is the successor to an unnamed contractor that performed work in New Jersey are not sufficient to provide personal jurisdiction in the state, a federal judge held June 4 (Helen Thomas-Fish, et al. v. Aetna Steel Products Corp., et al., No. 17-10648, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93124).
SAN FRANCISCO — An insurer’s claim that it learned of a default judgment only after entry and the possibility of a meritorious defense to the asbestos case required vacating the ruling, a California appeals court affirmed June 5 (Gloria McClain, et al. v. James A. Nelson Co. Inc., et al., No. A152045, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
CINCINNATI — Shipowners and other defendants explicitly and repeatedly waived personal jurisdiction defenses in the 1980s as part of the maritime asbestos docket, plaintiffs told the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 3 in nine consolidated cases (James Matthews, et al. v. Chaz, Kurz & Co., Inc., et al., Nos. 16-4146, 16-4269, 16-4354, 16-4757, 17-3238, 17-3480, 17-3735, 17-3915, 17-3918, 6th Cir.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — Plaintiffs told a California jury on June 4 that companies went to great lengths to remove asbestos from a product that they claim didn’t contain asbestos, all the while ignoring that a legitimately safer alternative existed in the form of corn starch. But on June 5, Colgate-Palmolive Inc. told the jury that there is no evidence that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos and that their talc products do not cause mesothelioma (Schmitz v Johnson & Johnson, No. RG18923615, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
NEW YORK — Neither a talc supplier nor a consumer talc retailer can escape an English woman’s claim that she contracted mesothelioma after using its asbestos-tainted talc products simply by introducing a corporate representative’s testimony stating that the products were asbestos free, a New York justice held in an opinion posted June 4 (Beverley Alleyne v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190295/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2845).
NEW YORK — A man’s identification of unique “green-gold” press pads is sufficient to keep the defendant in an asbestos case, a New York justice held May 14 (Angela Abate, et al. v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. 190336/2015, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — Allegations of work around companies’ asbestos products while employed by Boeing Co. keep it and two other defendants in a federal asbestos action in New York, but a vague fraud claim fails, a judge held May 9 (John Clark, et al. v. Advanced Composites Group, et al., No. 16-6422, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80639).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on May 31 declined to weigh in on the proper standard for holding an employer grossly negligent for asbestos exposures and whether an appellate court properly reduced punitive damages in the case (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 18-0056, Texas Sup.).
NEW YORK — New York County jurors awarded $300 million in punitive damages in an asbestos-talc case against Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. on May 31, the first such award in the court since at least 1994, sources told Mealey Publications (Donna Olson v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190328/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington granted judgment as a matter of law to two asbestos friction parts companies on May 28, saying that nothing in the evidence at trial permitted a negligence verdict based on the companies’ alleged failure to issue post-sale warnings (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corp LTD, et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89886).
JACKSON, Miss. — A settlement in a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) asbestosis case that references cancer sufficiently contemplates the disease as an outcome and precludes a future action involving brain cancer, a divided Mississippi Supreme Court held May 23 (Andrew L. Ward Jr., et al. v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., No. 2018-CA-00285-SCT, Miss. Sup., 2019 Miss. LEXIS 207).
SAN FRANCISCO — “Though meager,” allegations that a pump manufacturer sold asbestos-containing products in California give the state specific jurisdiction, a federal judge in California held May 16 (Thomas Toy, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 19-325, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83153).