NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey jury is weighing whether to impose punitive damages after awarding a widow $2,380,000 on Jan. 22 on her claim that her husband contracted and died of mesothelioma after exposure to Union Carbide Corp.’s Calidria asbestos, sources told Mealey Publications (Thomasina Fowler v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. L-4820-11, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.).
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey’s top court on Jan. 18 agreed to weigh in on whether an automobile manufacturer can be held liable for third-party asbestos-containing replacements parts (Arthur G. Whelan v. Armstrong International Inc., et al., No. A-40/41/42/43/44/45/46-18, N.J. Sup.).
PHILADELPHIA — A couple’s asbestos-talc case belongs in federal court, and jurisdiction exists over the case owing to Pennsylvania’s business registration statute, a federal judge in the state held Jan. 16 (Youse & Youse v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-3578, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7789).
AUSTIN, Texas — Lower Texas courts misapplied the gross negligence standard required for holding an employer liable for a man’s asbestos exposure, improperly excluded radiation as a potential alternative cause of his mesothelioma and wrongly concluded that a $15 million punitive damage award was not economic, parties argue in a pair of Jan. 16 merit briefs filed with the Texas Supreme Court (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 18-0056, Texas Sup.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A railcar company argues in a Jan. 10 memo that federal law preempts claims leading to a $139,500 asbestos verdict against it. But in a Jan. 21 response, a woman says the court on four other occasions rejected the preemption argument before trial and should not deviate from those rulings now (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan.).
NEW YORK — A man’s testimony regarding purchases of asbestos-containing products at a retail store is enough to keep the company in his suit, even if he can’t recall the precise location, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 16 (Albert Schwartz, et al. v. Advanced Auto Supply, et al., No. 190316/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — An attorney’s affirmation is hearsay and cannot support summary judgment in an asbestos case against a pump maker, especially given the evidence, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 16 (Lorraine Allen, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190352/16, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 124).
NEW YORK — The successor to the PVC pipe business of former Chapter 11 debtor Johns-Manville Corp. asked a New York federal bankruptcy judge Jan. 16 to issue a “reiterative injunction” barring state court asbestos injury claims against the successor based on the bankruptcy protections implemented when it bought the business (In re Johns-Manville Corporation, et al., No. 82-11656, S.D. N.Y. Bkcy.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A jury began weighing an asbestos case against Calidria manufacturer Union Carbide Corp. after hearing during Jan. 15 closing arguments about whether the product was a significant cause of a man’s mesothelioma or whether the company took the legally and regulatorily required steps (Thomasina Fowler v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. L-4820-11, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Fighting a $32.7 million asbestos verdict, Covil Corp. told a federal judge in North Carolina on Jan. 14 that trial errors led to an inflated verdict that should be erased or at least retried and that it is entitled to setoffs of any judgment from settlements the plaintiff reached (Ann Finch, et al. v. Covil Corp., No. 16-1077, M.D. N.C.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A woman successfully alleges jurisdiction in North Carolina over a talc company through its interwoven ownership of Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc., a federal judge held Jan. 15 (Jody E. Ratcliff v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., et al., No. 17-174, M.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122659).
LOS ANGELES — Evidence supports a judge’s conclusion that an insulator was not performing work at a tire plant during the times in question, a defendant told a California court recently. But in a Dec. 21 reply, a widow says evidence of such work might exist, but the company destroyed all relevant records (Rosemarie Ganoe, et al. v. Metalclad Insulation LLC, No. B282011, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson’s delay in producing samples for testing warrants admitting the resulting post-discovery expert report, and the conflicting expert opinions create sufficient questions to deny summary judgment to two talc suppliers in an asbestos case, a New York justice held Jan. 11 (Jenny Shulman, et al. v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 190025/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LOS ANGELES — A judge’s instructions were “so incomplete, confusing, and misleading” that a jury had to find that an estate’s heirs were injured by the same asbestos that allegedly caused a husband and wife to develop mesothelioma, plaintiffs told a California appeals court recently (Jimmy Mettias, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. B287831, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
LOS ANGELES — Staying a California asbestos suit whose contacts, witnesses and evidence almost all reside in Wisconsin was the right move, a trio of defendants told a California appeals court on Dec. 21 (Charlene Rickert v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., et al., No. B289888, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California court on Jan. 9 denied a motion for reconsideration, leaving in place its conclusion that a trial court properly set aside millions of dollars in default judgments in an asbestos case after finding that a defunct company’s insurer possibly could have raised a meritorious defenses had it known of the actions, (William Mechling v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., James Greely v. Asbestos Defendants, et al., Omar Barstad v. Lamons Gasket Co., et al., Alexander Corns v. Amcord Inc., et al., Nos. A150132, A150134, A150125, A150138, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
SAN FRANCISO — A lawyer and his former law firm are briefing a California court on whether an appellate court’s conclusion that the employer owned work product involving alternative causation in asbestos cases dooms his entire case (Evan C. Nelson v. Tucker Ellis LLP, No. A153661, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — While there may be evidence that a company installed asbestos-containing insulation, the record does not support the conclusion that the plaintiff was exposed as a result of the work, a federal judge in North Carolina held Dec. 11 (Darrell A. Connor, et al. v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., et al., No. 17-127, M.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208542).
CHICAGO — A Chicago jury returned a defense verdict in a retrial of a chrysotile asbestos case involving drywall products on Dec. 14, sources told Mealey Publications (Jo Ann Startley, et al. v. Welco Manufacturing Co., No. 20140L-002716, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An asbestos case removed after nearly 10 years remains in federal court after a judge on Jan. 9 found product references in a settlement demand letter sufficient for removal (Patricia Mannix, et al. v. CBS Corp., et al., No. 18-558, D. R.I.).