SAN FRANCISCO — Despite producing in excess of 300 pages of depositions, trial testimony and expert reports, plaintiffs fail to produce any link between their decedent and asbestos-containing products for which three defendants could be liable, a federal judge in California said July 6 in granting three motions for summary judgment (Debbie L. Viale, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 19-38, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118138).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A workers’ compensation board properly excluded an expert report filed in support of an asbestos claim and, because the claimant was given multiple chances to make her case, properly denied the claim, a New York appeals court held July 6 (In the matter of the claim of Catherine Johnson v. Consolidated Edison, et al., No. 528775, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 3rd Dept., 2020 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3790).
NEW ORLEANS — A man’s interrogatory responses identifying deep-water drilling work constitute other paper from which a defendant could remove the asbestos action, a federal judge in Louisiana said July 2, denying a motion seeking reconsideration of a decision denying remand (David Hseih v. Apache Deepwater LLC, et al., No. 19-408, M.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117044).
PORTLAND, Ore. — Discovery requests that triggered production of evidence of U.S. Navy vessels does not trump a previous disclaimer of any attempt to recover for any injuries from asbestos aboard Navy vessels, a federal judge in Oregon said June 19 (Melissa Coury, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 20-264, D. Ore.).
PORTLAND, Maine — Allowing a railroad to interplead a state transportation department defendant would likely require reopening discovery and prejudice the plaintiff by introducing a host of new issues into the litigation, a federal judge in Maine said in denying the motion on June 19 (Victor Coffin, et al. v. Ametek Inc., et al., No. 18-472, D. Maine, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107910).
By Eric T. Hawkins, Evelyn Davis and Claire Weglarz
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A trial court properly applied the state’s cap on noneconomic damages in an asbestos case where a jury apportioned liability to the exposed as well numerous defendants, a Tennessee appeals court said June 30 (Lois Irene Davis, et al. v. 3M Co., et al., No. M2018-02029-COA-R3-CV, Tenn. App.).
TRENTON, N.J. — The federal judge overseeing the talc multidistrict litigation in New Jersey severed the claims of 744 plaintiffs involved in 12 cases and remanded some the cases while finding jurisdiction lacking in others June 29 (Dawn Hannah v. Johnson & Johnson, No. 18-14637, Amy Johnson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-1423, Maureen Kassimali, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5534, Darren Cartwright, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-5535, Sherron Gavin, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10319, Amanda Reising, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-10320, Cynthia Gibson, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-14637, Eleanor Barsh, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 17-17103, Lisa Hittler, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 18-17106, Tashay Benford, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-5590, Laura McConnell, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-9365, Cynthia Kannady, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson Inc, et al., No. 19-13476, D. N.J.).
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The statute of limitations begins in Minnesota when the plaintiff causally links mesothelioma to asbestos exposure, the state’s Supreme Court said July 1 in finding an action time-barred (Deborah J. Palmer, et al. v. Walker Jamar Co., et al., No. A18-2124, A19-0155, Minn. Sup.).
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial judge’s single-paragraph awarding a new trial in an arc chute asbestos case is vague, frustrates review and falls short of the standard for granting a new trial, a California appeals court said in reversing the ruling on June 29 (Norman Estes, et al. v. Eaton Corp., No. A152847, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
NEW ORLEANS — Plaintiffs need not have an expert testify regarding a decedent’s lost earnings for them to be recoverable, and earnings the plaintiffs lost providing care for their decedent are also recoverable under Louisiana law, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 26 in partially denying summary judgments (Callen Dempster, et al. v. Lamorak Insurance Co., et al., No. 18-6158, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112185).
RALEIGH, N.C. — Two friction companies are entitled to summary judgment in an asbestos case after showing that while a man may have worked with their products, insufficient evidence links the work to exposure for which they are liable, a federal judge in North Carolina said June 25 (Jack Howard Cox Sr., et al. v. AGCO Corp., et al., No. 16-84, E.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111948).
NEW ORLEANS — Removing an asbestos negligence case prior to a recent en banc ruling by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals would have been the very type of hasty and unnecessary removal frowned upon by the court, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 26 in denying remand (Booker W. Holmes, et al. v. Albert L. Bossier Jr., et al., No. 20-880, E.D. La., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112180).
WILMINGTON, Del. — Evidence that a jury included a strong-willed individual who previously viewed publicly available information about a case is not evidence that the jury was prejudiced against an asbestos plaintiff and does not warrant granting a new trial, a federal magistrate judge held June 24 (Johanna Elaine Evans, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 15-681, D. Del.).
LOS ANGELES — Two defendants cannot overcome their admission that a drywall company used their asbestos in constructing walls at a building where a man who developed mesothelioma later worked, a California appeals court held June 24 in reversing summary judgment (Jovana Collantes, et al. v. Elementis Chemicals Inc., et al., No. B295278, Calif. App., 2nd Dist.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri appeals largely affirmed an asbestos-talc verdict against two Johnson & Johnson entities June 23, turning away expert and causation challenges and concluding that the companies’ “significant reprehensibility” warranted a $2.2 billion judgment (Gail Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., No. ED 107476, Mo. App., Eastern Dist.).
HOUSTON — A trial judge properly applied maritime law to an asbestos case involving ship-based exposures, but erred in concluding that the plaintiffs could not recover nonpecuniary damages, a Texas appeals court held June 18 (Robin Blaine Andrews, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 14-18-00573-CV, Texas App., 14th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4535).
LOS ANGELES — Lockheed Martin Corp. showed that it followed specifications the military issued governing the aircraft design and construction and that the resulting use of asbestos caused plaintiffs’ injuries, satisfying all prongs of the federal removal standard, a federal judge in California said June 18 in denying remand (George Kruse, et al. v. Actuant Corp., et al., No. 19-9540, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107109).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ en banc decision in Latiolais provided grounds for removing a case involving similar allegations and the same defendant, a federal judge in Louisiana said June 10 (William Hulin v. Huntington Ingalls Inc., et al., No. 20-924, E.D. La.).
By Kevin McKie