SEATTLE — Whether the Washington state and Alaska statute reposes conflict, and whether a widow’s action against a premises owner may proceed if the latter state’s laws apply is once again before a Washington state appeals panel as briefing wrapped up Oct. 8 (Larry Hoffman and Judith Hoffman v. General Electric Co., Ketchikan Pulp Co., et al., No. 51162-2-II, Wash. App., Div. 2).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Honeywell International Inc.’s reporting of its asbestos liabilities related to Bendix Friction Materials, the company announced in an Oct. 19 regulatory filing.
LOS ANGELES — A judge’s instruction 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. Pepboys Manny, Moe, And Jack of California, No. B287831, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
LOS ANGELES — A California trial court improperly stayed an asbestos action after concluding that the case belonged in Wisconsin, rather than determining whether California was a seriously inconvenient forum for three automobile companies whose principal place of business is in the state, a women told a California appeals court Sept. 28 (Charlene Rickert v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc., et al., No. B289888, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
HAYWARD, Calif. — An Alameda County court entered judgment on Sept. 17 on a jury’s verdict finding that a brake arc grinding machine manufacturer was not liable for a man’s mesothelioma, sources told Mealey Publications (Donald Knutson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. RG17886959, Calif. Super., Alameda Co.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Precedent supports the conclusion that a woman’s state law asbestos action falls outside the preemptive powers of railroad safety laws, and nothing in the legal landscape requires granting immediate appeal, a federal judge in Kansas said Oct. 18 in declining to amend his ruling or grant interlocutory appeal (Nancy Little, et al. v. The Budd Co., No. 16-4170, D. Kan.).
NEW YORK — Expert testimony does not support the conclusion that chrysotile asbestos does not cause mesothelioma or that a man’s exposure was insufficient to cause the disease, and a plaintiff has adequately alleged exposure, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Oct. 16 (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, John Swanson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., No. 190535/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2018 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4629).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on Oct. 15 indicated in a minute order that he would wait to enter judgment on a jury’s Oct. 12 asbestos verdict. In that verdict, the jury hung on the issue of negligence and found in favor of automotive product defendants on strict liability claims (Patrick Jack, et al. v. Asbestos Corp LTD, et al., No. 17-537, W.D. Wash.).
HOUSTON — Focusing on a single aspect of a statute led a Texas appeals court to the incorrect conclusion that a widow had to provide notice of her claim to the county she intended to sue before her husband even contracted mesothelioma, a trial lawyers group on Oct. 15 told the court in support of en banc rehearing (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
NEW YORK — In otherwise affirming a mesothelioma verdict, a New York justice said Oct. 12 that plaintiffs must retry the damages portion of their case unless they stipulate to a $17.25 million award rather than the $75 million the jury awarded (Marlena F. Robaey, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 190276/13, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
NEW YORK — A trial judge applied a causation standard no one in the mainstream scientific community would adopt while setting aside an $11 million asbestos verdict, plaintiffs told the New York Appeals Court during Oct. 16 oral arguments; but in striking back, defendant Ford Motor Co. said the plaintiffs should have to produce more than simple evidence of dust to prove causation (In re New York City Asbestos Litigation, Mary Juni, etc. v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. APL-2017-00114, N.Y. App.).
HOUSTON — A Texas judge said Oct. 12 that he would adopt a $293 million arbitration award for Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co. in its asbestos case against Dublin, Ireland-based Eaton Co.’s Cooper Industries, sources told Mealey Publications (Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Co v. Cooper Industries, No. 201177606, Texas Dist., Harris Co.).
GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana federal judge agreed with a magistrate judge on Oct. 15 and remanded to state court asbestos liability class claims against a railway that had been stayed by the bankruptcy case of W.R. Grace & Co. pursuant to the local controversy exception to federal jurisdiction (Korey L. Aarstad, et al. v. BNSF Railway Company, et al., No. 4:17-cv-72, D. Mont., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176843).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Legislature’s adoption of the Daubert standard involved procedural rules properly within the scope of the court’s powers, and an appeals court improperly applied it to exclude expert testimony relied on in an $8 million judgment against asbestos and tobacco companies, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court said Oct. 15 (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
HOUSTON — Notice of a claim could not have been provided within six months of a judge’s last exposure to asbestos because no claim existed until eight years later when doctors diagnosed him mesothelioma, and a Texas appeals court erred in concluding otherwise, a woman argues in an Oct. 12 motion for en banc rehearing (Jefferson County, Texas v. Ellarene Farris, et al., No. 01-17-00493-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury hearing a rare trial involving both asbestos and tobacco defendants on Oct. 12 faulted one of the three defendants and hit that tobacco company with $13.1 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages for a man’s lung cancer (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey jury returned a defense verdict Oct. 11 for Johnson & Johnson in the latest asbestos-talc case after nearly a month of trial (Rosalind & Frederick Henry v. Brenntag North America, et al., No. L-1748-17, N.J. Super., Middlesex Co.) VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
RICHMOND, Va. — An employer who permitted asbestos to be carried home on employees’ clothing placed household members within its “zone of danger” and can be liable for failing to prevent the exposure and resulting injury, the Virginia Supreme Court said Oct. 11 in a 4-3 response to a certified question from a federal court (Wesley Quisenberry, et al. v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., No. 171494, Va. Sup.).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts jury began deliberations on Oct. 8 after it heard closing arguments about addiction, choice and the state of the art regarding friction brake products in a rare lung cancer case involving both tobacco and asbestos defendants (Louis Summerlin, et al. v. Philip Morris, USA, et al., No. 1581CV05255, Mass. Super., Suffolk Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVAILABLE.
SAN FRANCISCO — A California appeals court on Oct. 10 declined to revisit an asbestos case in which it concluded that Kansas law applied and required evidence that the specific exposure in question caused the plaintiff’s disease, which it said made proving causation a “near impossibility” (Gerald Hake v. Allied Fluid Products Corp., et al., No A150366, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).