SAN FRANCISCO — A man’s testimony that he witnessed the defendant’s workers in an adjacent room handling products that likely contained asbestos are enough to overcome summary judgment, a California appeals court held June 26 (Beth Harris, et al. v. Triple A. Machine Shop Inc., et al., No. A153794, Calif App., 1st Dist.).
SEATTLE — Expert testimony regarding asbestos’ role in both mesothelioma and lung cancer warranted a jury question allowing it to find causation on either disease, a widow told a Washington appeals court May 28 (Era Clevenger, et al. v. John Crane Inc., et al., No. 78504-4, Wash. App., Div. 1).
CHICAGO — A federal court may decide a plaintiff’s declaratory judgment action seeking clarification of which party owns asbestos liabilities because even as a nonparty to the contract, the plaintiff has an interest in the issue and nothing in the case would interfere with state court proceedings, a widow tells the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a July 11 brief (Deborah Amling, et al v. Harrow Industries LLC, et al., No. 19-1805, 7th Cir.).
Every year, the Mealey’s Litigation Report: Asbestos compiles, analyzes and reports on verdict information appearing in the report from the previous calendar year. The following report contains that information.
CHICAGO — The existence of “scattered” witnesses supports a trial court’s denial of a forum non conveniens motion in an asbestos case, an Illinois appellate court held July 1 (Linda A. Alley, et al. v. BNSF Railway Co., et al., No. 1-18-2509, Ill. App., 1st Dist., 2019 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1249).
NEW YORK — A man’s testimony that he would clean up dust from asbestos-fitted printing machines was sufficient grounds on which to deny summary judgment, a New York appeals court held July 11 (Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation, No. 190041/18 9861, N.Y. Sup. App., 1st Dept., 2019 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5589).
TACOMA, Wash. — A ruling finding jurisdiction over an automotive cooperative relied on appropriate evidence that in a part suggested that the asbestos defendant’s conduct went beyond merely licensing its logo and trademark, a federal judge in Washington said July 1 in denying reconsideration (Eric Klopman-Baerselman, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 18-5536, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109818).
NEW YORK — Insufficient evidence suggests that a building a securities analyst recalled visiting on a sprawling campus is the same building where a man recalled working with the defendant’s products in an unrelated case, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 9 (Russell Leavitt and Joyce Leavitt v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al., No. 190240/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3594).
NEW YORK — Fact questions regarding whether a laundry facility moved to a new location after a boiler company began selling its products defeat a summary judgment motion, a New York justice held in an opinion posted July 8 (Steven J. Yavner, et al. v. American Optical Corp., et al., No. 190132/2017, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3596).
NEW YORK — A New York appellate court on July 8 further reduced what was once a $10 million award for future pain and suffering, telling the plaintiff she must accept $500,000 for what was a month of future pain and suffering or face a new trial. The court affirmed the liability finding and $5 million award for past pain and suffering (Frank Gondar v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190079-2015, 9722, 9721, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Div.).
HELENA, Mont. — Transporting vermiculate in the 1970s was not an abnormally dangerous activity for a railroad, and federal law preempts any claims arising from “small traces” of asbestos contamination, BNSF Railway Co. tells the Montana Supreme Court in a July 8 brief (BNSF Railway Co. v. The Asbestos Claims Court of the State of Montana, et al., Nos. OP 19-0085, Mont. Sup.).
NEW ORLEANS — In amending the federal officer removal statute in 2011, Congress addressed a specific problem and intentionally left untouched causal-nexus language, a man told the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals July 8 in urging it to affirm remand of his asbestos case (James A. Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 18-30652, 5th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A consumer talc company’s subpoenas seek information it can obtain through other means, and the defendant has not shown that it made any attempt to obtain cooperation from out-of-state individuals who provided talc samples for testing before seeking court assistance, a New York justice held July 8 (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 3565).
PHILADELPHIA — There was no clear error of law in a ruling finding that federal railway law preempted only asbestos claims involving the listed products and did not stretch to insulation on pipes not connected to the locomotive, a federal judge in Pennsylvania said in denying reconsideration on July 3 (Peggy Hassell, et al. v. The Budd Co., et al., No. 09-90863, E.D. Pa.).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Louisiana on June 21 allowed the family of a man who died from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos to submit evidence as to the location of an offshore platform on which the man performed work for ConocoPhillips Co. to show if the court has jurisdiction over claims against the company (Federico Lopez, et al. v. McDermott Inc., et al., No. 17-8977, E.D. La., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104722).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — While circumstantial and fragmented, the “horseshoes and hand-grenades” evidence submitted at trial comes close enough to supporting a jury’s conclusion that a defendant’s asbestos-containing insulation was present in the same boiler rooms in which a man worked, a divided Maryland top court held July 3 (Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust v. William Edward Busch Jr., No. 58, Sept. Term 2018, Md. App., 2019 Md. LEXIS 325).
SEATTLE — A Washington appellate court on July 3 remanded for further clarification an asbestos case challenging jurisdiction over an asbestos fiber supplier, saying the ruling below provides no basis or explanation for how the court reached its conclusion (Candance Noll, et al. v. Special Electric Company Inc., et al., No. 77888-9, Wash. App., Div. 1, 2019 Wash. App. LEXIS 1697).
TRENTON, N.J. — A Wisconsin man’s lawsuit claiming that his exposure to asbestos-containing talc baby powder caused him to develop mesothelioma should not be remanded, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled June 20, finding that the plaintiff did not properly serve defendant companies based in New Jersey before removal occurred (Robert Manz v. Brenntag N.A., et al., No. 18-cv-14083, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103847).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on June 19 remanded a woman’s lawsuit claiming that a deceased man’s exposure to asbestos-containing talc products sold by Johnson & Johnson caused him to develop mesothelioma and die, finding that the bankruptcy filing of the company that supplied talc to Johnson & Johnson does not trigger federal jurisdiction (Louisemarie Honor v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 19-10760-RWZ, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103057).
TACOMA, Wash. — Two defendants in an asbestos wrongful death case on June 24 said a Washington federal court should deny a widow’s motion to certify a question to the state high court, saying the plaintiff is legally wrong and her motion is “nothing more than a second motion for reconsideration masquerading under a different name” (Sherri L. Deem, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., No. 17-5965, W.D. Wash., Tacoma).