Federal Judge Strikes Expert Testimony On Family's Mold Exposure

    SHREVEPORT, La. - A Louisiana federal judge on Sept. 24 granted motions to strike filed by various entities related to the management and operation of an air force base, finding that an expert declaration made on behalf of a family, who alleged that they sustained injuries caused by mold in military housing, contained opinions that were not previously provided in the case (Benjamin L. Pratt Jr., et al. v. Landings at Barksdale, et al., No. 09-1734, W.D. La.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136817).

    California Judge Rules 'Light' Cigarette Smokers Suffered No Economic Loss

    SAN DIEGO - Smokers of Marlboro Lights in California suffered no economic loss and are entitled to no compensation under the state's unfair competition law and false advertising law, a California Superior Court judge said in a Sept. 24 final decision in a 16-year-old class action, according to an Altria Group Inc. press release issued the same day (Willard R. Brown, et al. v. The American Tobacco Co., Inc. et al., No. 711400, Calif. Super., San Diego Co.).

    Maryland Court Affirms Ruling Excluding Testimony On Mold/Causation

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Maryland Court of Appeals on Sept. 24 affirmed a decision that a circuit court erred when it applied the improper test in determining whether an expert's methodologies and theories in relation to mold exposure and illness are generally accepted in the relevant scientific community, finding that his testimony must be excluded (Montgomery Mutual Insurance Co. v. Josephine Chesson, et al., No. 97, September Term 2012, Md. App.).

    Florida Jury Awards $3.8 Million To Widow Of Long-Time Smoker

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury ordered two tobacco companies to pay $3.8 million to the widow of a man who died of lung cancer (Kathleen Gafney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. et al., No. 50-2007-CA-020540, Fla. 15th Judicial Cir., Palm Beach Co.).

    Tobacco Plaintiff Allowed To Bring Evidence Of Ammonia Manipulation

    MIAMI - A tobacco wrongful death plaintiff may introduce evidence that tobacco companies used ammonia compounds allegedly to boost the addictiveness of cigarette tobacco, and a disputed expert will be allowed to testify with limitations, a Florida federal judge said in a Sept. 20 decision (Ronnie L. Jacobson, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-23781, S.D. Fla.)

    Illinois Court Hears Argument On Asbestos Summary Judgment Standard

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on Sept. 19 heard arguments about whether a former radio man introduced sufficient evidence of exposure to two manufacturers' products aboard a U.S. Navy ship to overcome summary judgment (Virginia Bowles, et al. v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No. 4-12-1072, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).

    5th Circuit Panel Affirms Defense Summary Judgment In Nematicide Injury Suits

    NEW ORLEANS - A unanimous Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 19 affirmed summary judgment against banana field workers alleging product liability personal injury claims against dibromochloropropane manufacturers and distributors and corporations that used the nematicide because the claims filed in Louisiana federal court were prescribed by the one-year statute of limitations (Eduardo Alvarado Chaverri, et al. v. Dole Food Co. Inc., et al., No. 12-31026, 5th Cir.).

    Judge Finds Remediation Company Did Not Cause Homeowner's Mold injuries

    PHILADELPHIA - After finding that a homeowner failed to show that her mold-related injuries were caused by the actions of a remediation firm, a Pennsylvania federal judge on Sept. 19 granted summary judgment for the firm, finding that it was not negligent (Dr. Diane Perlman v. Universal Restoration Systems Inc., et al., No. 09-4215, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133953).

    Illinois Court Hears Arguments On Conspiracy Claims Judgment, Defense Verdict

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - An Illinois appeals court on Sept. 19 heard arguments on whether a judge properly granted asbestos conspiracy defendants summary judgment and whether the judge should have permitted post-exposure conduct by John Crane Inc. (Carolyn Garrelts v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 4-12-0997, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).

    11th Circuit Revives Clean Air Case Against Alabama Power, Finds Experts Reliable

    ATLANTA - A trial judge erred in finding unreliable government expert testimony that a power plant's modifications at three coal-fired plants would increase regulated gas emissions, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Sept. 19 in a decades-old Clean Air Act case (United States of America, et al. v. Alabama Power Co., No. 11-12168, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19329).

    Illinois Court Affirms Ruling Partially Vacating $89.6M Asbestos Conspiracy Award

    BLOOMINGTON, Ill. - Evidence of an alleged conspiracy between asbestos product manufacturers "so overwhelmingly favors defendants that no verdict against them could ever stand," an Illinois appeals court held Sept. 18 in affirming a ruling partially vacating an $89.6 million verdict (Charles Gillenwater v. Honeywell International Inc., et al., No. 4-12-0958, Ill. App., 4th Dist.).

    Federal Judge: Helicopter Parts Company's Knowledge Made Removal Improper

    CHICAGO - A helicopter company knew it manufactured and supplied the parts at the center of an asbestos suit under government guidelines, making its removal more than a year later improper, an Illinois federal judge held Sept. 17 in remanding the action (William Douthitt and Sonora Douthitt v. ArvinMeritor Inc., et al., No. 13-754, S.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132480).

    Judge Denies Motion To Strike Supplemental Evidence But Affirms Judgment

    CHICAGO - A man's supplemental evidence still falls short of establishing the presence of Cleaver-Brooks Inc. distillers at his work sites, an Illinois federal judge held Sept. 17 (Henry Ruppel v. Bettis Laboratory Inc., et al., No. 12-293, S.D. Ill.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132476).

    English Court Fines Investment Firm 80,000 Pounds For Asbestos Exposure

    LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on Sept. 18 announced that an English magistrates' court has fined an investment firm after it potentially exposed workers to asbestos at a former tile factory.

    Lawyers Lose Summary Judgment Bid On Garlock's Fraud, Conspiracy Claims

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A North Carolina federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 17 for a second time denied summary judgment to an attorney and law firm accused by Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC of fraudulently obtaining a settlement from Garlock for a mesothelioma victim (Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, et al. v. Chandler, et al., No. 12-03137, W.D. N.C. Bkcy.).

    Florida Jury Hits Lorillard, Crane Co. With $8M Asbestos Verdict

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 17 awarded a man $8 million for asbestos-related mesothelioma and held gasket-maker Crane Co. and cigarette manufacturers Lorillard Tobacco Co. liable. Sources said it is believed to be the largest ever verdict against Lorillard for an asbestos-related injury (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. N/A, Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).

    Court Affirms $2.75M Lung Cancer Award But Reduces Liability By Half

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Evidence of a premises owner's liability allowed for the otherwise untimely naming of a defendant who ended up at trial, and the evidence supports a jury's award against it on lung cancer claims, but the liability must be split between the two entities, a Louisiana court held Sept. 16 (Alfred Watts and Rosa Lee Watts v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., et al., No. 2012 CA 0620, La. App., 1st Dist.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 1863).

    New York Justice Allows Tenant To Add Claims About Conditions In Apartment

    NEW YORK - A New York justice on Sept. 16 granted a tenant's request to amend his pleading to assert various conditions in his apartment and requiring his landlord to remedy the issues but denied his request to amend his complaint to assert a cause of action for constructive eviction (NYCHA Coney Island Houses v. Arcadio Ramos, No. 16212/11, N.Y. Civil., Kings Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4107).

    English Court Fines Dairy/Welder 56,000 Pounds For Asbestos Violations

    LONDON - The United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on Sept. 16 announced that an English crown court fined a dairy and a welding company for exposing employees to asbestos.

    Wisconsin Court Finds Agreement Did Not Require House To Be Defect-Free

    MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin appeals court on Sept. 17 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the seller of a property, finding that the purchase agreement did not specify that the property would be free of defects, including leaks (Kelly D. Ivancevic, et al. v. Ronald C. Reagan, et al., No. 2012AP2294, Wis. App., Dist. 1; 2013 Wisc. App. LEXIS 763).

    On Remand, Federal Judge Finds Plaintiff's Benzene Causation Expert Admissible

    MILWAUKEE - A federal judge in Wisconsin on Sept. 13 denied a paint manufacturer summary judgment in a benzene exposure case, finding that the plaintiff's industrial hygienist's testimony was admissible and that Wisconsin law applied (Joanne Evelyn Schultz v. The Glidden Co., No. 08-C-919, E.D. Wis.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131139).

    New York Justice Finds Evidence Of Defendant's 1990 Creation Lacking

    NEW YORK - A company's undocumented contention that a man could not have seen its gaskets because it did not exist until 1990 goes to the weight of the testimony and does not warrant summary judgment, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Sept. 13 (Carl A. DiSalvo v. A.O. Smith Water Products Co., et al., No. 190109/10, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.; 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 4045).

    Appeals Court Affirms Finding That Plaintiffs Abandoned Tobacco Claims

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana's First Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed dismissal of a tobacco wrongful death action as abandoned, saying in a Sept. 13 opinion that participation in a putative class action does not excuse the plaintiffs for failure to prosecute their claims for more than three years. (Alice Dimm, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 2012 CA 1879, La. App., 1st Cir.; 2013 La. App. LEXIS 1849).

    Skinner's Case Closed; Asbestos Claims Can Proceed Against Insurers

    PITTSBURGH - A Pennsylvania federal bankruptcy judge on Sept. 11 dismissed the 12-year-old converted Chapter 7 case of Skinner Engine Co. Inc., allowing asbestos personal injury claims to proceed against the company's lone remaining asset - insurance policies - in the tort system (In re: Skinner Engine Company, Inc., No. 01-23987, W.D. Pa. Bkcy.).

    Judge Concludes Mississippi Would Adopt 'Bare Metal' Defense

    WILMINGTON, Del. - Mississippi would not hold manufacturers liable for products they neither manufactured nor supplied, relieving one defendant of liability and partially relieving a second, a Delaware federal judge held Sept. 12 (Tommy Carroll Dalton and Shirley Jean Dalton v. 3M Co., et al., No. 10-113, D. Del.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130407).