CHARLOTTE, N.C. — LTL Management LLC, a subsidiary of health care giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) that was created recently in a corporate restructuring “to hold and manage claims in the cosmetic talc litigation,” filed for Chapter 11 protection on Oct. 14 in North Carolina federal bankruptcy court with plans to create a $2 billion trust to pay asbestos personal injury claims.
SEATTLE — A widow shows that her husband worked on a ship with a company’s refrigeration equipment and that the equipment contained asbestos gaskets, but not that her husband was exposed to asbestos by the work, a federal judge in Washington state said Oct. 8 in granting summary judgment to the refrigeration company.
The following is a listing of plaintiff and defense experts who testified in trials covered by Mealey's Litigation Report: Asbestos since Jan. 1, 2002.
AUGUSTA, Ga. — A Georgia jury on Oct. 5 returned a defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson and a related company in a woman’s case alleging that the presence of asbestos in its talc caused the death of a woman from ovarian cancer, sources told Mealey Publications. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California unfair competition law and related class claims involving allegations that two companies improperly advertised consumer talc as free from asbestos all sound in fraud and do not meet the heightened pleading standard for such claims, the companies tell the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an Oct. 8 joint answering brief.
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A federal judge in Kentucky on Sept. 30 largely admitted the opinions of eight asbestos experts on industrial hygiene, medical costs and causation, finding the latter opinions that cumulative exposure causes disease different than the rejected “each and every exposure” theory, and then denied a friction product defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A federal judge in Indiana on Sept. 30 struck two experts’ opinions and granted summary judgment to a premises owner in an asbestos and groundwater contamination case, finding Environmental Legal Action statute claims contrary to the plain language of the law and barred by the defendant’s voluntary remediation efforts.
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin jury on Oct. 6 awarded more than $6 million in compensatory damages and added $20 million in punitive damages for the mesothelioma death of a pipefitter exposed to asbestos at a brewery.
TRENTON, N.J. — The documents at the heart of corrective disclosures in a securities case against Johnson & Johnson for allegedly failing to disclose the presence of asbestos in talc are already in the company’s possession, and any other subpoenaed communications with media are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, attorneys told a federal judge in New Jersey on Sept. 20 in urging him to quash a subpoena.
HOUSTON — Plaintiffs’ causation evidence fails to link the asbestos fibers allegedly found by an employer’s industrial hygiene test to actual exposure by a masked worker and Texas law does not impose a duty on manufacturers to warn about other manufacturers’ products, a federal judge in Texas said Sept. 10 in granting summary judgment.
SEATTLE — A couple and a mask manufacturer that was cleared by a jury in an asbestos case recently briefed a Washington appeals court on whether the verdict resulted from an improper expert exclusion and the proper standard for evaluating the case.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Seven amicus curiae briefs — with the latest filed Oct. 4 — urge the U.S. Supreme Court to restore a federal agency’s power to make scientifically sound decisions by finding that federal labeling law preempts a Mississippi consumer protection suit against Johnson & Johnson for not warning about the ovarian cancer risk associated with the use of its talc products.
LOS ANGELES — Clarifying the bright-line standard for removal, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel said Oct. 1 that the clock for removing an asbestos case did not begin until it was “‘unequivocally clear and certain’” that the case belonged in federal court.
SAN FRANCISCO — No matter how egregious the violation, California courts are now unlikely to address due process concerns created by a hard cap on defendants’ time to depose mesothelioma sufferers, and the U.S. Supreme Court should grant review so the problem does not “grow out of control,” two asbestos defendants tell the court in an Oct. 4 petition.
LINCOLN, Neb. — An expert’s causation opinion involving asbestos and diesel fumes is directly contradicted by the industrial hygienist on which he allegedly relied, and his opinion generally lumping potential causes would not assist the jury, a federal judge in Nebraska said in excluding an expert and granting a former employer summary judgment Sept. 29.
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A plaintiff must produce pathology grids and results a consulting expert obtained from destructive fiber burden analysis testing of an asbestos victim’s tissue but need not produce the expert’s ultimate opinions, a federal magistrate judge in North Carolina said in partially granting a defendant’s motion to compel on Sept. 27.
SPOKANE, Wash. — Nothing suggests that an asbestos product identification witness’s recent dementia diagnosis warrants excluding or holding a competency hearing on the now-deceased man’s testimony, and his medical records are likely irrelevant and not within his daughter-in-law’s possession even if her counsel represented him at his deposition, a federal judge in Washington said Sept. 27 in granting a motion for protective order over medical records and denying a motion to exclude the testimony.
NEW ORLEANS — The pre-1972 version of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) applies to a man’s case, and the language and purpose of the statute’s exclusivity provision require the conclusion that it bars a “twilight zone” negligence action claiming that defendants failed to provide a worker with an asbestos-free workspace, a federal judge in Louisiana said Sept. 24 in granting summary judgment to defendants.
PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania jury on Sept. 24 returned a verdict for two Johnson & Johnson entities, ending the voyage of a thrice-removed case after a month-long talc trial brought by a woman with ovarian cancer.
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri jury on Sept. 27 returned a defense verdict for two Johnson & Johnson entities after an attorney for the company told the jury that the theory that three women contracted ovarian cancer from genital talc use “doesn’t make any sense,” sources told Mealey Publications. VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.