Florida Appeals Court Affirms Tobacco Verdict But Notes Conflict On Repose

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The First District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 affirmed all aspects of a $730,000 tobacco wrongful death verdict but certified to the state's Supreme Court conflict with another district on a jury instruction regarding the statute of repose (R.J. Reynolds v. Carolyn Hiott...

Insulator's Work Doesn't Free Premises Owner From Liability, Court Says

MILWAUKEE - An insulator's work with asbestos-containing insulation does not exempt the premises owner from liability under the state's Safe Place statute, a Wisconsin appeals court held Dec. 27 (Anthony Viola, et al. v. Wisconsin Electric Power Co., et al., No. 2013AP22, Wis. App., Dist. 1;...

Md. Federal Judge Interprets Insurance Coverage In Favor Of Asbestos Defendant

BALTIMORE - While two insurance companies are correct that Maryland follows the horizontal exhaustion rule for determining primary and excess policy coverage, the rule must be applied based on the theory of pro-rata allocation, as a former insulation company seeking coverage for asbestos personal injury...

Judge Rejects Mesothelioma Sufferer's Petition To Perpetuate Testimony

CHICAGO - A mesothelioma sufferer seeking a petition to perpetuate his own testimony in anticipation of a lawsuit has not shown that he could file that action currently, an Illinois federal judge held Jan. 3 in denying the petition (Roger W. Seehafer v. 3M Co., et al., No. 13-8561, N.D. Ill.).

Judge: Plaintiff Is Bound By Ruling Court Now Believes Is Incorrect

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A Missouri federal judge dismissed benzene-related claims against Harley-Davidson Inc., saying in a Jan. 2 reconsideration opinion that collateral estoppel binds the plaintiff to a ruling in an earlier case that the judge came to regard as erroneous (Michelle K. Ideker v. PPG Industries...

Amended Action Has No Relation To Take-Home Asbestos Case, 3rd Circuit Affirms

PHILADELPHIA - A woman's amended complaint seeking to assert asbestos exposure in federal office buildings does not relate back to her original action disclaiming injuries in federal enclaves and alleging take-home exposures, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 7 (Barbara Anne Anderson...

Magistrate Judge Finds Confusion From Verbal Order, Extends Expert Deadlines

NEW ORLEANS - Asbestos plaintiffs who relied on a verbal order allowing supplemental expert reports may have additional time to bring the submissions into compliance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26, a Louisiana federal judge held Jan. 6 (Tina Davidson, et al. v. Georgia Pacific LLC, et al., No...

Court: Judge May Extend Mandated Deposition Times In Interests Of Fairness

LOS ANGELES - Trial judges have discretion to extend the "merely presumptive" statutory time limits on depositions when fairness requires such action, a state appeals court held Jan. 8 in ordering a California judge to reconsider asbestos defendants' motion seeking such a remedy (CertainTeed...

Magistrate Judge Allows More Time To Serve Defendants Despite Lack Of Good Cause

WILMINGTON, Del. - While a man's admission that he failed to take the necessary steps to serve a defendant in his asbestos action falls short of establishing "good cause" for an extension, the defendant will not suffer undue prejudice, a Delaware federal magistrate judge held Jan. 9 (Arthur...

7th Circuit: Knowledge Of Asbestos Satisfies Mens Rea Requirement

CHICAGO - The United States need not show that a man knew regulations covered the asbestos materials he worked with; his knowledge that the insulation contained asbestos satisfies the mens rea requirement, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 8 (United States of America v. Duane L...

Garlock Sues Law Firms, Alleging Fraud Over Asbestos Claims

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC on Jan. 9 filed four adversary complaints in a North Carolina federal bankruptcy court against several law firms and attorneys, alleging conspiracy, fraud and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO...

New York Justice Bars Asbestos Expert From Testifying On Talc Contamination

NEW YORK - A plaintiffs' expert modified a widely accepted testing criteria before concluding that a defendant's talc contained asbestos, a New York justice held Jan. 9 in precluding James Millette's testimony under Frye (Lawrence Bernard and Marilyn Bernard, et al. v. Brookfield Properties...

Bankruptcy Judge: Plaintiffs, Lawyers Covered Up Evidence In Garlock Meso Cases

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Chapter 11 debtor Garlock Sealing Technologies LLC's total estimated liability for present and future mesothelioma claims is only $125 million, not $1.2 billion as asbestos personal injury claimants argued, because Garlock's history of settling mesothelioma claims "was...

Bankruptcy Judge In Landmark Johns-Manville, Madoff Cases Dies

NEW YORK - Longtime U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton R. Lifland of the Southern District of New York, who presided over several landmark cases, including Johns-Manville Corp.'s asbestos bankruptcy and the liquidation of the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC estate following Madoff's Ponzi...

9th Circuit Finds Judge Failed To Properly Vet Asbestos Experts, Testimony

SEATTLE - A Washington federal judge impermissibly delegated his role as gatekeeper under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc. (509 U.S. 579 $(1993$)) to the jury when he admitted two experts and "each and every" exposure testimony in an asbestos case that produced a $10.2 million verdict, a...

Justice: Phenolic Compound Asbestos Case Proceeds Against Union Carbide

NEW YORK - Testimony from Union Carbide Corp.'s own representatives raise questions about whether its phenolic compound contained asbestos, a New York justice held in an opinion posted Jan. 10 (Alice Kestenbaum, as executrix of the estate of Frank Kestenbaum v. Durez Corp., et al., No. 190421/11...

California Jury Awards $11 Million In Wrongful Death Asbestos Case

LOS ANGELES - An Alameda County, Calif., jury on Jan. 15 awarded a widow and her two daughters $11 million for a man's death from mesothelioma, according to the court's docket (Emily Bankhead, Tammy Bankhead and Debbie Bankhead Meiers v. ArvinMeritor Inc., et al., No. RG12632899, Calif. Super...

Bankruptcy Judge OKs W.R. Grace's $1.1B Settlement Of Final Reorganization Appeal

WILMINGTON, Del. - A Delaware federal bankruptcy judge on Jan. 17 approved a settlement agreement under which Chapter 11 debtor W.R. Grace & Co. will pay $1.1 billion to dozens of financial institutions and investment funds that are the only remaining objectors to Grace's plan of reorganization...

Rhode Island Judge Allows Replacement Naval Expert's Trial Testimony

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An asbestos plaintiff's quick disclosure of a replacement naval expert and the long time before trial warrants allowing the expert's trial testimony, a Rhode Island judge held Jan. 15 (Rosie K. Sweredoski, et al. v. Alfa Laval Inc., et al., No. 2011-1544, R.I. Super., Providence...

Pending Discovery Motion Sinks Hospitals' Motions Seeking Judgment

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Rhode Island judge on Jan. 15 denied summary judgment to two hospitals, saying the potential impact of evidence from a pending discovery motion seeking contracts between the hospitals and contractors working with asbestos-containing products makes such relief premature (Leonard L...

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Petition In Asbestos Preemption Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court on Jan. 21 denied a petition for review challenging the scope of preemption under the Boiler Inspection Act in an asbestos case, according to its docket (Thomas F. Atwell Jr., executor of the estate of Thomas F. Atwell v. John Crane Inc., No. 13-586, U.S. Sup.).

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Affirms Transfer Of 18 Asbestos Cases

PHILADELPHIA - A Philadelphia trial judge properly transferred 18 asbestos cases to Northampton County, where parallel cases and essentially all the evidence resides, the Pennsylvania Superior court held Jan. 21 (Joyce M. Stettler and Raymond Stettler v. Allied Signal Inc., et al., Frank W. Weierbach...

Florida Jury Awards $5 Million To Smoker In Engle Progeny Verdict

MIAMI - A Florida jury on Jan. 17 awarded $5 million to a smoker who blamed his 40-year Marlboro habit for the development of coronary heart disease (Antonio Cuculino v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2010-62733-CA-01, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud., Miami-Dade Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - High Court Refuses To Review Florida Class Action Tobacco Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on June 9 denied 10 petitions for writ of certiorari seeking review of the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that allows members of the Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) tobacco class action to use liability findings from that case in...

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Plaintiffs: ExxonMobil Cannot Remove Radioactive Materials Case To Federal Court

NEW ORLEANS - A group of plaintiffs who sued ExxonMobil Corp. and won compensatory and punitive damages for exposure to naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) at a pipe maintenance yard on Sept. 15 filed a brief arguing that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana should...