- Volume 32, Issue #23
- Jury Awards $24.26 Million To Man Exposed To Asbestos During Breaks In Engine Rooms
SAN FRANCISCO - A California jury on Nov. 29 awarded an 81-year-old former longshoreman $24.26 million for mesothelioma he allegedly contracted after exposure to asbestos while taking breaks in the engine rooms of ships to keep warm (George Lucas v. Triple A Machine Shop Inc., No. CGC-16-276549, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
- Judgment Entered After Rare Asbestos Renal Cancer Trial Snags Mixed Results
SAN FRANCISCO - A California judge on Dec. 20 entered judgment after a jury awarded $2.86 million in one of the first ever asbestos-related renal cancer trials. The jury found one of two defendants liable but apportioned the lion's share of the responsibility to the plaintiff (John M. Silva v. Albay Construction Co., Tosco Corp., No. CGC-15-276384, Calif. Super., San Francisco Co.).
- Crane Co. Takes Fight Over $10M Punitive Award To U.S. Supreme Court
ST. LOUIS - The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 29 gave an asbestos plaintiff more time to respond to a petition urging the court to use a $10 million verdict to clarify the proper standard for evaluating punitive damages awards under existing due process and award ratio precedent (Crane Co. v. Jeanette G. Poage, No. 17-900, U.S. Sup.).
- Medical Monitoring Asbestos Plaintiffs Notice Appeal Of Opinion Striking Claims
HARTFORD, Conn. - Five mason laborers seeking medical monitoring after alleged exposed to asbestos during renovations at a school on Dec. 18 appealed a ruling striking their negligence, premises liability and recklessness claims, after arguing that the claims survive under recent Connecticut precedent construing exposures as an injury. The plaintiffs on Jan. 4 asked the court to enter default against the defendants on the negligent infliction of emotional distress claims the court did not strike (Julian Poce, et al. v. O&G Industries Inc., et al., No. HHD CV 17-60742454-S, Conn. Dist., Hartford at Hartford).
- Washington Judge Keeps $81.5M Asbestos Friction-Parts Award In Place
TACOMA, Wash. - A Washington state judge on Dec. 1 upheld an $81.5 million asbestos verdict, rejecting two friction-products companies' arguments about "systemic misconduct" and that the award was so excessive as to warrant a new trial or remittitur (Gerri Coogan, et al. v. Genuine Parts Co., et al., No. 15-2-09504-3, Wash. Super., Pierce Co.).
- Top Court Told Sales Gave Oklahoma Jurisdiction Over Asbestos Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A company's sale of tens of thousands of units of asbestos-containing drywall in Oklahoma easily surpasses the bar for jurisdiction in the state, a man told the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 (Murco Wall Products Inc. v. Michael D. Galier, No. 17-733, U.S. Sup.).
- Fight Of Asbestos Transfer Order Waived Jurisdiction Defense, 3rd Circuit Says
PHILADELPHIA - Asbestos defendants waived personal jurisdiction defenses when they fought transfer to a different jurisdiction for pretrial management, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Dec. 28 (In re: Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, Joseph Blue, et al., No. 16-4148, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 26849).
- Ship Owners Want Asbestos Jurisdiction Appeals Narrowed By 6th Circuit
CINCINNATI - A court should dismiss five asbestos plaintiffs from a group of 258 consolidated appeals, where one plaintiff's identical state court action was dismissed with prejudice and the other four failed to file timely appeals, ship owners told the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 29 in defense of personal jurisdiction dismissals (James Matthews, et al. v. Chas, Kurz & Co. Inc., et al., Nos. 16-4146, 16-4269, 16-4354, 16-4757, 17-3238, 17-3480, 17-3735, 17-3915, 17-3918, 6th Cir.).
- Justice Orders Discovery Into Jurisdiction Over Asbestos Brewery Filters Case
NEW YORK - New York lacks jurisdiction over asbestos claims against an out-of-state jewelry-making products company, but further discovery is needed into whether the plaintiff was exposed to filters at breweries in the state, a justice held in a pair of opinions posted Dec. 27 (Richard S. Trumbull, et al. Adience Inc., et al., No. 190084/2016, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5069, 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 5059).
- Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
- Florida Court Finds Contractor Lacked Control Necessary For Premises Verdict
MIAMI - Evidence that a contractor put in more than a million hours of work at a premises is "impressive" but does not establish the type of control required for premises liability, and the company's failure to produce a witness who could testify regarding the period in question did not warrant sanctions, a majority of a Florida appeals court held Dec. 27 (Bechtel Corp., et al. v. Richard Batchelor and Regina M. Batchelor, No. 3D16-2624, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 19759).
- Justice: Premises Owner Not Liable For Dual Exposure Defendant's Liability
NEW YORK - A jury's verdict against a company that exposed a man to asbestos both as a manufacturer and an employer covers only the liability as a products manufacturer, making it impossible to guess how it would calculate any liability the company faced as an employer, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Dec. 19 (Phyllis Brown, et al. v. Bell & Gossett Co., et al., No. 190415/12, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
- Court Kicks Appeal Challenging 2014 Mesothelioma Law To Missouri High Court
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Whether a 2014 law providing enhanced workers' compensation benefits for mesothelioma victims retroactively upsets vested interests is a constitutional question for the state's top court, the Missouri Court of Appeals held Dec. 19 (Accident Fund Insurance Co., et al. v. Robert Casey, et al., Nos. WD80470, WD80481, WD80525, Mo. App., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207148).
- Employer: Asbestos Plaintiffs Lacked Sufficient Evidence To Support $9M Verdict
DALLAS - A Texas court on Dec. 28 gave the family of a mechanical engineer until Feb. 13 to respond to an opening brief challenging the sufficiency of the evidence underpinning a $9 million asbestos verdict that included $7.8 million in punitive damages against the man's employer (Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. v. Shirley Dickson, et al., No. 05-17-00979-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist.).
- Selling Asbestos Products Created Duty To Household Members, Plaintiff Says
WILMINGTON, Del. - The affirmative act of selling asbestos-containing products is misfeasance and does not require a special relationship between the parties for imposition of a duty to protect household members from exposure, a woman told the Delaware Supreme Court on Dec. 28 (Elizabeth Ramsey, et al. v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., No. 305, 2017, Del. Sup.).
- Pennsylvania Court Remands $6.4M Asbestos Verdict For New Trial On Liability
PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania law all but eradicating joint and several liability applies to strict liability asbestos cases, a state appellate court held in remanding for a new trial on the issue of liability Dec. 28 (William Roverano, et al. v. John Crane Inc. et al., Nos. 2837 EDA 2016, 2847 EDA 2016, Pa. Super.)
- Court Finds Motion Challenging Asbestos Conspiracy Claim Timely
WILMINGTON, Del. - A scheduling order governed motions for summary judgment on only product identification and causal nexus and does not make a motion involving a remaining conspiracy claim untimely, a federal magistrate judge in Delaware held Dec. 15 (Marguerite MacQueen v. Warren Pumps LLC, et al., No. 13-831, D. Del., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206223).
- Law Firm: Texas Overstates Case In Urging Unsealing Of Asbestos Deposition
DALLAS - The Texas attorney general overstates the case in favor of unsealing deposition testimony from a law firm's principal and ignores that there is no evidence the record constitutes a court document, appellees told the state's appeals court on Jan. 3 (Christine Cole Biederman v. Beverly Jean Brown, et al., No. 01-07-00263-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist.).
- Court Reverses, Finds Judge Improperly Disregarded Asbestos Deposition Testimony
OAKLAND, Calif. - A judge misconstrued portions of testimony in concluding that a deposition contradicted a previous declaration, and the apparent belief that the testimony was lacking because the witness did not testify to directly witnessing asbestos exposures is contrary to the law, a California appeals court held Dec. 22 (Keith Turley and Joy Ann Turley v. Familian Corp., No. A149752, Calif. App., 1st Dist.).
- Asbestos Company Says Ohio Law Requires Tobacco Users To Prove They Aren't Smokers
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Only by requiring those who use to tobacco products to submit medical reports indicating whether they qualify as "smokers" can Ohio courts give the General Assembly's choice of words meaning, a company told the Ohio Supreme Court on Dec. 22 (Bobby Turner, et al. v. Union Carbide Corp., et al., No. 17-0004, Ohio Sup.).
- Judge Places Asbestos Evidence Under U.S. Military Technology Protection Rules
SEATTLE - Parties to an asbestos suit on Dec. 15 agreed that evidence produced during discovery should fall under various U.S. laws and regimes designed to protect against the release and export of defense and military related technologies (Thomas A. Johnson, et al. v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp., et al., No. 17-834, W.D. Wash.).
- Reinsurer Seeks New Trial After New York Federal Jury Awards $64M To Insurer
UTICA, N.Y. - Following a jury's verdict of $64 million, a reinsurer in a Dec. 29 motion asked a New York federal court for a new trial, arguing that it is not liable under seven reinsurance agreements for sums an insurer paid to an insured in an asbestos claims settlement (Utica Mutual Insurance Co. v. Fireman's Fund Insurance Co., No. 09-00853, N.D. N.Y.).
- Illinois Judge Says Insured Failed To Prove All Primary Policies Were Exhausted
CHICAGO - Following a bench trial in an asbestos coverage dispute, an Illinois federal judge on Dec. 28 determined that a ruling regarding the exhaustion of the insured's umbrella and excess policies would be premature because the insured failed to meet its burden of proving that the primary policies were exhausted (John Crane Inc. v. Admiral Insurance Co., et al., No. 04-CH-08266, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.).
- Sheldon Silver Asks Court To Review Money-Laundering, Asbestos Scheme Evidence
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The circuit courts are split on how to handle commingled funds in the hundreds of money-laundering cases the government brings every year, former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told the nation's top court Dec. 22 (United States of America v. Sheldon Silver, No. 17-562, U.S. Sup.).
- Expert Index
- When Strategies Go Awry: Part 3 In A Series On Cognitive Biases And Their Impact
By Laura A. Frase Loss Aversion and its Collaborators or