NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson and four plaintiffs focused on testing in the opening rounds of the punitive damages phase of a New Jersey asbestos-talc case on Jan. 15. A jury hit the company with a $37.3 million verdict in September 2019 (Douglas Barden, et al. v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. MID-L-1809-17, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
PHILADELPHIA — The viability of a 1980 asbestos case docketed in Michigan federal court, litigated before an Ohio federal judge and eventually transferred and dismissed by a federal judge in Pennsylvania came before the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 13 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation (No. VI), Creighton Miller v. Sea-Land Service Inc., et al., No. 18-2165, 3rd Cir.).
NEW ORLEANS — Despite recent Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals developments, precedent still calls for remanding cases involving allegations that a shipyard failed to warn about the dangers of asbestos or provide a safe workplace, federal judge in Louisiana said Jan. 10 (Denis Schexnayder Jr. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 19-11773, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5907).
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis jury on Dec. 20 returned a verdict for Johnson & Johnson in a case in which the plaintiff claimed that asbestos in the company’s talc product led her to develop ovarian cancer (Vickie Forrest v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 1522-CC00419-01, Mo. Cir., St. Louis Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
CHICAGO — An Illinois appellate panel on Dec. 19 affirmed that nothing in jury instructions improperly led a jury to award $6 million in an asbestos case against John Crane Inc. (Sharon Daniels, et al. v John Crane Inc., et al., No. 1-19-0170, Ill App., 1st Dist.).
John Crane Inc. told a federal judge in Delaware Nov. 22 in opposing a motion for new trial or investigation (Johanna Elaine Evans, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 15-681, D. Del.).
LOS ANGELES — The plaintiffs’ only evidence a decedent was exposed to asbestos consists of the possibility that joint compound containing asbestos was included in debris he cleaned up, Union Carbide Corp. told a California appeals court Dec. 24 in defending summary judgment in its favor (Jovana Collantes, etc., et al. v. Elementis Chemicals Inc., et al., No. B295278, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
GRETNA, La. — A trial court erred in relying on evidence not admitted into the record when finding that a previous asbestos action did not toll the prescription period, a Louisiana appeals court held Dec. 20 in vacating the ruling (Carl J. Calamia Jr., et al. v. The Parish of Jefferson, et al., No. 19-CA-270, La. App., 5th Cir., 2019 La. App. LEXIS 2401).
HONOLULU — There is no conflict of interest where attorneys who helped plaintiffs settle asbestos claims against Cleaver-Brooks Inc. now represent those same plaintiffs in an action accusing the company of fraudulently concealing evidence during discovery, a federal judge in Hawaii said Dec. 19 in denying a motion to disqualify (Terry N. Agena, et al. v. Cleaver-Brooks Inc., et al., No. 19-89, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 221235).
PHILADELPHIA — Federal law preempts claims involving alleged exposure to asbestos during refurbishing of locomotive parts, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said Jan. 9 (Martin Shields v. General Electric Co., et al., No. 18-2421, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3340).
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Liability for asbestos-containing replacement parts requires more that simply stating that a defendant’s product appeared in the same workplaces as the exposed individual, a federal judge in Connecticut held Jan. 7 (Kurt Carlson, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 17-1916, D. Conn.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Jan. 9 granted a motion by asbestos plaintiffs and BorgWarner Morse TEC LLC to continue the company’s motion for sanctions over the untimely cancellation of a deposition (In re Toy Asbestos Litigation, No. 19-325, N.D. Calif.).
NEW YORK — Allegations that a boiler maker had specific knowledge about the dangers of asbestos and took steps to prevent the spread of that information support failure-to-warn and punitive damages claims, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 7 (Simeon Leben, et al. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190228/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Asbestos plaintiffs noticed a deposition, only to cancel it the day before its scheduled date without adequate explanation, a company told a California federal judge in seeking sanctions on Dec. 26 (In re Toy Asbestos Litigation, No. 19-325, N.D. Calif.).
OXFORD, Miss. — An automobile company on Jan. 6 asked a federal judge to exclude two experts and grant it summary judgment in an asbestos case just weeks after a federal magistrate judge in Mississippi precluded it from deposing one of the plaintiffs (William Bedford, et al. v American Honda Motor Co. Inc., No. 18-175, N.D. Miss.).
NEW ORLEANS — A state school system is an arm of the state and protected from an asbestos action by sovereign immunity, a federal judge in Louisiana said Jan. 6 (Carey Gomez v. Aardvark Contractors Inc., et al., No. 18-4186, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1333).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Paddock Enterprises LLC on Jan. 6 became the latest corporate victim to using asbestos in products, with the company filing a Chapter 11 petition in Delaware federal bankruptcy court after a December restructuring of the world’s largest glass bottle manufacturer left it holding all asbestos liabilities from the parent’s production of thermal insulation products in the 1950s (In re Paddock Enterprises, LLC, No. 20-10028, D. Del. Bkcy.).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico spent millions of dollars treating cancers caused by talcum powder marketed towards minorities despite industry knowledge about the presence of asbestos in the products, the states alleges in a Jan. 2 lawsuit (State of New Mexico, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. N/A, N.M. 1st Jud. Dist., Santa Fe Co.).
HOUSTON — Plaintiffs need not demonstrate a doubling of risk of disease where the claims involve exposure solely at a premises owner’s facility, a Texas appeals court said Dec 19 while finding that sufficient evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant controlled a worksite and knew generally of the danger of asbestos (Union Carbide Corp., et al. v Oscar Torres, et al., No. 13-10-00325-CV, Texas. App., 13th Dist.).
CHICAGO — An appellate court improperly ignored precedent and failed to perform a meaningful analysis before finding that sufficient evidence supported conspiracy claims in an asbestos case, a divided Illinois Supreme Court held Dec. 19 (John Jones, et al. v. Pneumo Abex, et al., Nos. 123895, 124002, Ill. Sup.).