NEW YORK — Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. finds itself back in an asbestos-talc action it previously escaped through an unopposed summary judgment after a New York justice granted a motion to add it to a third-party action in a Sept. 12 ruling (Eric Slonim, et al. v. Altman Stage Lighting Co., et al., No. 190339/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — The fact that various owners of an automotive performance parts company throughout the years have been based in New York does not give the state jurisdiction over a case brought by a Minnesota resident who never alleges asbestos exposure in the state, a New York justice held in dismissing the company on Sept. 17 (Darrell Nelson, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. 190095/2019, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
SEATTLE — A Washington state jury on Sept. 13 awarded $4.25 million in an asbestos case against a company whose predecessor supplied a shipyard with asbestos-containing products (Douglas F. Everson, et al. v. Lone Star Industries Inc., No. 19-2-02-422-4 SEA, Wash. Super., King Co.).
NEW YORK — The relevancy of testing on historic samples of Chanel No. 5 and a woman’s expert’s admission that he could likely reverse engineer samples to determine authenticity warrant denying her motion to compel production of the product’s formula, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Sept. 12 (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 4903).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The statute of limitations bars a widow’s action against an auto parts company, and an asbestos company’s 1985 dissolution bars her action against it, a Minnesota appeals court held Sept. 16 in affirming a pair of summary judgments (Deborah J. Palmer, et al. v Walker Jamar Co., et al., Nos. A18-2114, A19-0155, Minn. App., 2019 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 914).
NEW ORLEANS — The en banc Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Sept. 24 on a case questioning whether a negligence action involving the failure to implement safety measures at a shipyard using asbestos on Navy vessels relates to federal officer work (James A. Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 18-30652, 5th Cir.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The bankruptcy of one talc supplier leaves only a defendant with a sufficiently “murky” history and undeveloped record that ruling on whether jurisdiction exists under the successor line theory would be impossible, a New Jersey appeals court held Sept. 11 in dismissing an appeal in an asbestos case (Linda Huff, et al. v. Cyprus Amax Minerals Co., et al. No. A-3655-17T3, N.J. Super., App. Div.).
NEW ORLEANS — A shipyard’s removal of an asbestos action came too late because the initial complaint included allegations of exposure aboard what are clearly Navy vessels and is meritless under existing precedent as well, but because the law in this area is unsettled, sanctions are not appropriate, a federal judge in Louisiana held Sept. 11 (Charles Merlin Parfait Sr. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 19-11958, E.D. La.).
LOS ANGELES — In a retrial of a case that originally produced a mistrial, a couple told a jury one of them suffers from mesothelioma after asbestos exposure caused by Johnson & Johnson baby powder. But the company argues Sept. 10 that for the plaintiffs’ case to make sense, a multitude of independent entities testing the company’s product must have not known what they were doing or have participated a vast conspiracy (Carolyn Weirick v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. BC656425, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
CHICAGO — A woman timely brought a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) case given her allegations about when she learned that her deceased husband’s esophageal cancer might have an occupational asbestos exposure link, a federal judge in Illinois held Sept. 9 (Theresa Romcoe, et al. v. Illinois Central Railroad Co., et al., No. 17-8517, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152632).
TACOMA, Wash. — A car manufacturer need not respond to discovery beyond that called for under federal rules or that seeks overly broad answers about the company’s position on its vehicles, associated parts and consumer safety, a federal judge in Washington said Sept. 10 (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154359).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A jury on Sept. 11 hit Johnson & Johnson with a $37.3 million verdict, concluding that four individuals’ exposure to asbestos in the company’s cosmetic talc products caused their mesotheliomas, sources told Mealey Publications. The judge previously struck the company’s closing arguments, an issue the company will likely appeal, sources said (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.
TRENTON, N.J. — Deposition testimony from settled defendants discussing corporate successorship, the manufacture and sale of asbestos-containing products and the lack of associated warnings are sufficiently adverse to those parties’ interests to permit their admission at trial, the New Jersey Supreme Court held Sept. 11 (Donna Rowe, et al. v. Bell & Gossett Co., et al., No. A-16-18, N.J. Sup.).
TRENTON, N.J. — Dismissal of a securities class action against health care products manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and several of its current and former senior executives is not warranted because the lead plaintiff in the action has sufficiently pleaded each element of its federal securities law claims, the lead plaintiff argues in a June 28 opposition brief (Frank Hall v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. 18-1833, D. N.J.).
DALLAS — In concluding that there was not sufficient evidence on which a jury could find gross negligence, an appeals court ignored corporate witness testimony regarding the company’s knowledge about the dangers of asbestos and expert opinions on the risks such exposure caused, a family tells a Texas appeals court in a Sept. 9 motion urging rehearing (Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Shirley Dickson, et al., No. 05-17-00979-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7615).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri judge on Aug. 30 entered judgment on a $8,433,000 asbestos verdict, reducing the award against Ford Motor Co. by nearly $1.5 million for offsets (Alfred and Pamela Bennett v. Ford Motor Co., No. 1822-CC10744, Mo. Cir., 22nd Jud. Dist.).
NEW YORK — A jury could apportion liability to a defendant where evidence shows that it supplied the very asbestos-containing gloves a pathologist-in-training described in his testimony, a scientific products company says in an Aug. 15 memo urging a New York justice to vacate a special master’s ruling denying its objection to an unopposed summary judgment motion (Michael Rosen v. Baltimore Aircoil Company Inc., et al., No. 190392/2018, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
LOS ANGELES — Whether a court considering an order granting a new trial on the issue of punitive damages in an asbestos case against a respirator manufacturer should limit its opinion to that issue or also address challenges to the evidence and the jury’s liability finding is before a California appeals court after parties filed supplemental briefing Aug. 12 in a case originally appealed in 2016 (William and Becky Tyler, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. B276847, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Federal regulations are designed to prevent railroads from having to stop at each state border to ensure compliance with “hodgepodge” rules, a company argues in urging the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find asbestos claims preempted on Sept. 6. But plaintiffs previously told the court safety regulations are limited to the specific products envisioned in the statutes (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 19-2014, 10th Cir.).
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Johnson & Johnson goes before a New Jersey jury without the benefit of closing arguments after a judge overseeing the consolidated asbestos-talc case struck them on Sept. 6. The jury then heard from plaintiffs’ counsel, who told them the only experts who believe that asbestos is safe are those employed by defendants whose products contained asbestos (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.