NEW YORK — A 1973 reinsurance certificate only covers an insurer’s expenses that were covered by the insurance policy, a reinsurer argues in its Oct. 15 appellee brief to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asking that the court uphold a lower court’s finding of no breach of contract with regards to denied asbestos billings of $2.7 million (Utica Mutual Insurance Company v. Munich Reinsurance America, Inc., No. 19-1241, 2nd Cir.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Oct. 15 rejected an asbestos defendant’s request that the court stay a mandate while the company petitions the U.S. Supreme Court for review of an opinion affirming a $32.7 million verdict and rejecting the call for a comparative verdict analysis (Ann Finch, et al. v. Covil Corp., No. 19-1594, 4th Cir.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California appeals court mistakenly viewed an asbestos-talc case through the lens of design defect when the case involves manufacturing defect claims and improperly concluded that the case involved a single product when numerous are at play, Avon Products Inc. tells the court in an Oct. 14 petition for rehearing (Susan Jean Bader v. Avon Products Inc., Nos. A157401, A158611, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
LOS ANGELES — A Japanese automobile parts company told a California appeals court Sept. 21 that service of an asbestos suit required compliance with an international treaty and that efforts at service through a wholly owned subsidiary operating in the country failed (George Sweikhart, et al. v. Akebono Brake Industry Company LTD., No. B305065, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
NEW YORK — A New York appeals court on Oct. 13 gave three out-of-state plaintiffs alleging exposure to asbestos in talc until the March 2021 court term to perfect appeals in a trio cases finding Colgate-Palmolive Co. was not subject to jurisdiction in New York (In re: New York City Asbestos Litigation, 40000/88, William Gerard Slattery, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 2019-20609, Sharon Ward v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. 2019-20866, Gerald Lindsay, et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., No. 2019-20867, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept.).
BALTIMORE — A law firm handed a reduced judgment of $970,487.30 in its case alleging underpayment for asbestos case referrals appealed the ruling, and on Oct. 14 the Fourth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal consolidated that case with four others brought by the defendants in what has been a sometimes contentious battle with allegations of bad faith litigation and efforts at retaliation (Keyes Law Firm LLC v. Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik LLP, et al., Nos. 19-2173, 19-2174, 20-1067, 20-1070, 20-2092, 4th Cir.).
INDIANAPOLIS — A psychiatrist directly ties plaintiffs’ mental distress with alleged asbestos and chlorinated chemicals exposure, a federal judge in Indiana said Oct. 13 in admitting the opinion in an environmental exposure case (Amos Hostetler, et al. v. Johnson Controls Inc., et al., No. 15-226, N.D. Ind., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189276).
SAN FRANCISCO — The latest asbestos case to go trial in California remains under way after a state appeals court on Oct. 9 denied a petition for writ of mandate and immediate stay, according to the court’s docket (Cornelius Williams v. A.H. Voss Co., et al., No. A161046, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Having spent decades defending a dissolved corporation and having waited until nearly a year after final judgment on a $32.7 million verdict, an insurer cannot now intervene in the case, a federal judge in North Carolina said Oct. 14 in finding that the insurer offered no justification for why it did not look for evidence of a 1991 dissolution ruling earlier (Ann Finch, et al. v. Covil Corp., No. 16-1077, M.D. N.C.).
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Evidence that a man’s work with asbestos-containing component parts created dust, combined with expert testimony that the exposure was sufficient to cause the man’s disease supports a jury verdict, and the plaintiffs need not have precisely quantified exposure, a New York appeals court held Oct. 9 in affirming the verdict (Lynn M. Stock, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 19-01975, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 4th Dept.).
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 9 stayed the issuance of a mandate after a ruling declining to perform a comparative analysis of a $32.7 million asbestos award on the same day the defendant told it the U.S. Supreme Court will likely accept the case and reverse (Ann Finch, et al. v. Covil Corp., No. 19-1594, 4th Cir.).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Under South Carolina law, four product manufacturers were sufficiently sophisticated users to preclude a widow from holding fiber supplier Union Carbide Corp. liable, a judge in Delaware said Sept. 28 (DeForest Gibbs, et al. v. 84 Lumber Co., et al., No. N19C-09-265 ASB, Del. Super., New Castle Co.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — An insurer accused of being the alter ego of a defunct company hit with a $32.7 million verdict must produce its redacted mesothelioma tracking database and written responses to unanswered deposition questions asked of its corporate representative, a South Carolina judge said while imposing sanctions during a Sept. 10 hearing (Ann Finch v. Sentry Casualty Co., et al., No. 2019-CP-40-03003, S.C. Comm. Pls., Richland Co.).
NEW ORLEANS — In resolving asbestos-related personal injury claims a couple did not agree to indemnify CertainTeed Corp. from their children’s separate and distinct wrongful death claims, a federal judge in Louisiana said Sept. 28 in granting a widow summary judgment (CertainTeed Corp. v. Dorothy Mayfield, No. 19-400, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71489).
By Peter Kelso, Joseph Cagnoli Jr. and Marc Scarcella
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Foster Wheeler LLC on Oct. 8 appealed remand of an asbestos case back to Pennsylvania state court where the plaintiffs disclaimed liability for Navy exposures but referenced the company and Navy exposures in deposition testimony (David Martincic, et al. v. A.O. Smith Corp., et al., No. 20-958, W.D. Pa.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial court properly weighed the evidence — including testimony that only a small portion of all mined talc ends up in cosmetic products — and granted summary judgment, two Johnson & Johnson entities told a California appeals court Aug. 20 (Douglas Strobel, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. A159609, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
ST. LOUIS — Two experts’ “logically fallacious proof by example” warranted their exclusion and dismissal of a woman’s Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claim alleging that her husband developed lung cancer as a result of exposure to diesel fumes, asbestos and other toxins, a railroad told the Eighth Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 21 (Nadine Byrd, et al. v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 20-1959, 8th Cir.).
NEW YORK — Case law established jurisdiction over a gasket and packing asbestos defendant, and recent contractual evidence regarding successor status does not change the outcome, a New York appeals court said Oct. 8 (Matter of New York City Asbestos Litigation, Helen Haley, et al. v. ABB Inc., et al., No. 190150/18 11986, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5790).
ATLANTA — Appellants have not shown that an asbestos expert established that a man’s care constituted medical malpractice, and their challenge to a trial court’s ruling on apportioning liability among other potential causes misses the mark, a Georgia appeals court said Oct. 6 (Pneumo Abex LLC, et al. v. Sheila Long, et al., No. A20A1442, Ga. App., 2020 Ga. App. LEXIS 552).