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Category Archives: Asbestos Litigation

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Florida Court of Appeal’s Recent Reversal of $21M Asbestos Verdict Highlights the Inherently Speculative Nature of Asbestos Claims

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Florida Courts, Premises Liability

On August 30, 2016, a Miami-Dade jury awarded Richard Batchelor and his wife more than $21 million after finding that his mesothelioma arose, in part, from asbestos exposure during overhaul work at a Florida Power & Light Co. (FP+L) power plant. On December 27, 2017, the Third District Court of Appeal erased the verdict against… Continue Reading

Eastern District of Louisiana Rejects Attempt to Defeat Federal Subject Matter Jurisdiction After Removal

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Louisiana Courts, Products Liability, Uncategorized

A federal district court in the Eastern District of Louisiana recently held that it continued to have federal jurisdiction under the federal officer removal statute, even after the plaintiffs amended their petition to delete claims that gave rise to federal subject matter jurisdiction. The court reasoned that the original removal satisfied the proper requirements to… Continue Reading

Florida Plaintiff Receives $6.9 Million Judgment After Florida Appellate Courts Require Jury To Be Instructed With A More Consumer Friendly Test

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Florida Courts

In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision in Aubin v. Union Carbide, which mandated that juries be instructed on the “consumer expectations test.” On November 28, 2017, seven years after initially filing her lawsuit, a plaintiff in  Miami-Dade County won a $6.9 million asbestos verdict in a retrial based on the Aubin decision,… Continue Reading

Connecticut Requires Expert Testimony for Proving Exposure Levels

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Connecticut Courts, Litigation Trends, Products Liability, Uncategorized

For the first time since 1989[1], Connecticut’s Supreme Court addressed the plaintiff’s burden of proof in the asbestos context, in Wayne Bagley v. Adel Wiggins Group et al, SC 19835 (11/7/17).  In a win for defendants facing such claims, the court found that plaintiffs bringing claims pursuant to the Connecticut Product Liability Act (under both… Continue Reading

Johnson & Johnson Found Not Responsible in Los Angeles Superior Court

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, California Courts

In the first case of its kind to go to trial, a jury recently returned a defense verdict against a plaintiff who claimed that exposure to Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder caused her to develop mesothelioma. The plaintiff, Tina Herford, filed suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and alleged that her exposure to… Continue Reading

Florida Plaintiffs Challenge the Constitutionality of Florida’s Asbestos and Silica Fairness and Compensation Act

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Toxic Tort

The Florida Asbestos and Silica Fairness and Compensation Act (the “Act”) has governed asbestos litigation in Florida nearly seamlessly for more than a decade until a series of recent challenges threw a wrench into the system by calling into question its constitutionality. The purpose of the Act, which came into effect in June 2005, is… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Frye Test Precludes Two Experts from Testifying in Cashmere Bouquet Talc Case

Posted in Asbestos Litigation

On September 25, 2017, the Court of Common Pleas of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia County precluded two of plaintiffs’ experts from testifying in the Brandt v. The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., et al. asbestos-related talcum powder case, effectively ending the case. Both Sean Fitzgerald and Dr. Ronald Gordon were precluded from offering expert testimony regarding the asbestos… Continue Reading

The Third Circuit Strips Some of the Protections of the “Bare-Metal Defense”

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Maritime Law, Products Liability

Imagine this scenario:  Company X manufactures a “bare-metal” product. After the product is sold, the buyer adds defective asbestos-containing insulation manufactured by Company Y to the product, which is sold for its proper function. Unfortunately, an end-user is then injured by the insulation manufactured by Company Y.  The “bare-metal defense” suggests that the bare-metal manufacturer,… Continue Reading

Texas Court of Appeals Upholds Jury’s Finding of Gross Negligence While Correcting The Trial Court’s Calculation of Exemplary Damages

Posted in Asbestos Litigation

Recently, the Texas Court of Appeals (1) upheld a jury’s finding of gross negligence and (2) explained how a trial court should calculate exemplary damages under Texas law, in The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, v. Vicki Lynn Rogers, et al., No. 05-15-00001-CV, 2017 WL 3776837 (Tex. App. Sep. 13, 2017).  In this case, the… Continue Reading

The Cumulative Exposure Theory is no Different from the “Each and Every Exposure” Theory

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Litigation Trends, Uncategorized

On August 31, 2017 the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division’s decision in Charles Krik v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al. excluding the testimony of plaintiff’s expert Dr. Arthur Frank. Dr. Frank’s theory was based on a premise… Continue Reading

Application of Bristol-Myers in the Los Angeles Superior Court

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, California Courts, Litigation Trends, Uncategorized

As previously reported, the issue of establishing personal jurisdiction when there is no causal link between defendant’s forum contacts and plaintiff’s claims was recently decided by the United States Supreme Court in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, 137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017). Last week, the Bristol-Myers decision was applied by Judge Kleifield,… Continue Reading

California’s Proposed Bill Seeks to Place Time Restraints on Depositions and Threatens Defendants’ Due Process Rights

Posted in Asbestos Litigation

California’s Senate Bill 632 seeks to impose a seven hour limit on depositions in asbestos cases at the expense of defendants’ due process rights. Specifically, SB 632 will require that “a deposition examination of the witness by all counsel, other than the witness’ counsel of record,” be limited to seven hours of total testimony in… Continue Reading

Federal Court Sustains Summary Judgment Motion While Drawing Clear Distinction Between Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Maryland Courts, Toxic Tort, Uncategorized

In what asbestos litigation defendants hope will become a growing trend, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland recently drew a clear distinction between expert testimony as it relates to causation of both pleural mesothelioma (affecting the lining of the lung) and peritoneal mesothelioma (affecting the stomach).  In Rockman v. Union Carbide… Continue Reading

Bulk Supplier, Sophisticated User, and Component Parts Doctrines May Provide Effective Defense to Talc Suppliers Whose Products are “Inherently Safe”

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, California Courts, Litigation Trends, Massachusetts Courts, Talc Litigation, Uncategorized

Mineral talc, as a raw material, was determined to be “inherently safe” by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Maren Nelson in the days leading up to the first Johnson & Johnson California ovarian cancer trial in the Johnson & Johnson Talcum Powder Cases, number JCCP4872.  According to Law360.com, on July 10 the judge dismissed Imerys… Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Joins Unanimous Federal Circuits – No Requirement That Government Prohibit Contractor From Warning About Asbestos For Government Contractor Defense To Apply

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Litigation Trends, Products Liability

Recently, in Sawyer v. Foster Wheeler LLC, the Fourth Circuit held that a government contractor is entitled to federal jurisdiction, even in product liability failure-to-warn actions, based on the contractor’s assertion that it has a colorable federal defense of government contractor immunity. 860 F.3d 249 (4th Cir. 2017). The big takeaway from this case, however,… Continue Reading

Petitpas v. Ford Motor Co., et al.: A Look at the Evolving Landscape of Asbestos Litigation in California

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, California Courts, Litigation Trends, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Uncategorized

The Second District Court of Appeal, Division Four in Los Angeles handed down a decision in an asbestos case that involved appellate issues pertaining to causes of action for strict products liability and premises liability, primary and secondary (“take-home”) exposure, liability for replacement component parts, and proper jury instructions to be given in asbestos cases… Continue Reading

Rhode Island Superior Court Denies Plaintiff’s Motion to Preclude Expert Testimony in Products Liability Action

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Litigation Trends, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Rhode Island Courts, Uncategorized

Plaintiff’s attempt to preclude testimony of expert witness in asbestos related products liability litigation meets impasse—court refuses to circumscribe competent experts to narrowly defined fields or specific licensure. On Friday, June 9, 2017, Presiding Justice Alice Gibney of the Rhode Island Superior Court, Providence County, issued a decision denying a plaintiff’s motion to preclude the… Continue Reading

Forum-shopping in Illinois? Think again. Cook County trial court erred in denying forum non conveniens motion

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Products Liability

On June 13, 2017, the Illinois First District Appellate Court issued an unpublished opinion holding that a Cook County judge erred in denying a forum non conveniens motion where essentially the entire case rests not in Plaintiffs’ chosen forum of Cook County, but in Winnebago County.[1]   The doctrine of forum non conveniens is premised… Continue Reading

Recent Decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Benefits Insurance Companies by Upholding Exclusions Provisions for Asbestos-Containing Products

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Insurance Litigation, Products Liability, Professional Liability

Travelers Casualty and Surety Company (“Travelers”) dodged a bullet when a $36 million judgment entered against it was unanimously overturned by a recent Third Circuit ruling in General Refractories Co. v. First State Ins. Co., 2017 WL 1416364 (3d. Circ. 2017). Significantly, the Third Circuit held that Travelers had no obligation to indemnify its policyholder,… Continue Reading

S.D.N.Y. Tells Plaintiffs: “Stop! You Cannot Sue, You Changed Your Story”

Posted in Asbestos Litigation

On Friday, April 28, 2017, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed, in its entirety, John and Michele Clark’s asbestos personal injury action based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel. In short, the Court ruled that the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit could not proceed without damaging the integrity and proper functioning… Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Verdicts

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Louisiana Courts, Louisiana Courts, Toxic Tort, Uncategorized

Frequently as litigators, we are faced with questions about which factors can make or break a trial. The facts of each case and skill of counsel are obvious elements to obtaining a favorable verdict, but outcomes can also be heavily influenced by the venue, pre-trial rulings, voir dire, jury instructions and even the sheer whim… Continue Reading

Guantanamo Bay Attorneys Allege Unsafe Carcinogen Exposures at Camp Justice

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Environmental Litigation, Toxic Tort

This month, attorneys working at Guantanamo Bay’s Camp Justice filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense (Seeger et al v. U.S. Department of Defense et al, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia, No. 17-00639), in which they allege that they have been exposed to dangerously high levels of carcinogens from working in contaminated areas…. Continue Reading

Recent Appellate Court Ruling Extends the Application of the Common Law Marriage Before Injury Rule to Apply in Florida’s Wrongful Death Claims

Posted in Asbestos Litigation, Complex Torts, Florida Courts, Litigation Trends, Products Liability, Toxic Tort

In a 2-1 opinion, the Fourth District Court of Appeal continued to apply the law which bars marrying into a cause of action, but a strong dissenting opinion and noted public policy concerns could trigger further review. In Florida, as in various other jurisdictions, the courts follow the common law marriage before injury rule. This… Continue Reading