Asbestos Case Beats Statute of Limitations

A federal judge has denied a pump manufacturer’s argument that an asbestos-related lung cancer case should be tossed because it wasn’t filed in time.

As asbestos litigation continues its steady decline and fewer lawsuits against companies for asbestos-related illnesses make it past the early stages of litigation, plaintiff Kathleen Conneen’s case on behalf of her deceased husband, Joseph Conneen, has cleared a significant hurdle.

U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied defendant Goulds Pumps Inc.’s motion for summary judgment based on Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations in asbestos cases, and under maritime law. Joseph Conneen worked in a shipyard.

The primary dispute centers on when Kathleen Conneen’s husband learned his exposure to asbestos could have been a factor in his diagnosis. According to Robreno’s opinion, Joseph Conneen, who filed suit in January 2015, was diagnosed with lung cancer in December of 2012.

Kathleen Conneen argued that her husband did not learn that asbestos exposure was a possible factor until February 2013, while Goulds countered that since Conneen’s husband worked around asbestos for 28 years and never smoked, he should have been more diligent in trying to identify the cause of his cancer.

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Source: Asbestos Case Beats Statute of Limitations

 


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Arizona High Court to Rule on Liability in Asbestos Take Home Exposure Case

The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether employers can be held liable to somebody who contracted cancer from asbestos brought home on a parent’s work clothes.

The case stems from the 2014 death of Dr. Ernest Quiroz, whose 2013 negligence lawsuit contends he was exposed to asbestos on his father’s work clothes.

The facts as outlined in the appeal indicate he lived with his father from 1952 to 1966, during the time his father worked at Reynolds Metal Co. Dr. Quiroz lived in California until 1976 and in Michigan until his death in 2014. The suit alleges Dr. Quiroz contracted mesothelioma as a result of the exposure to his father’s work clothes.

The suit argues that Reynolds Metal Co. was legally obligated to avoid creating hazardous conditions that would injure people off its property.

Reynolds won a pretrial ruling by a trial judge, and the Court of Appeals upheld it.

The Court of Appeals said potential drawbacks of recognizing what’s called a duty of care in so-called “take-home exposure” cases outweigh potential benefits, partly by opening the door to liability claims involving an array of hazardous materials.

Source: Arizona High Court to Rule on Liability in Asbestos Take Home Exposure Case

 


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Boeing Can Take Asbestos Case to Federal Court Under Contractor Defense

The Boeing Co. is entitled to the military contractor defense from liability in a suit claiming it failed to warn of the dangers of asbestos, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled on Tuesday.

The appeals panel reversed the decision of a U.S. district court judge in New Jersey who granted the plaintiff’s motion to send the case back to state court after Boeing removed it to federal court under the federal officer removal statute. Boeing is entitled to remove the case to federal court because it made the requisite showing that it engaged in the allegedly culpable behavior at the direction of a federal officer or agency, Third Circuit Judges Kent Jordan, Thomas Vanaskie and Cheryl Ann Krause ruled in Papp v. Fore-Kast Sales.

U.S. District Judge Peter Sheridan of the District of New Jersey granted the plaintiff’s motion to send the case back to state court upon finding that, as a contractor, it had a “special burden” to demonstrate that it was acting under federal government control. Sheridan said Boeing could only show it was acting under a federal officer by showing that was directly instructed by federal authority to keep mum about the dangers of asbestos.

Source: Boeing Can Take Asbestos Case to Federal Court Under Contractor Defense


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Is Asbestos Trial Consolidation Ending in Philadelphia

Defense attorneys have long said the practice of consolidating asbestos trials in Philadelphia gives the plaintiffs’ bar an unfair advantage, but some are now looking to a recent state Supreme Court decision as an indication that the consolidation of asbestos trials might be on its way out.

The practice of consolidating trials began more than 25 years ago in an effort to get control of a spiraling backlog of asbestos cases. Consolidation was credited with quickly wiping out the backlog and became the standard for how asbestos cases would be tried in Philadelphia.

Nearly five years ago, however, the court eliminated mandatory consolidation and placed a limit on the number of cases that could be consolidated into a single trial. Since then, the number of asbestos cases being tried to verdict has been decreasing, which attorneys attributed to growing success with mediation. Of the cases that go to trial, thought, many are still consolidated.

However, according to defense attorneys, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Rost v. Ford Motor might help the defense bar in its efforts to challenge consolidation.

Source: Is Asbestos Trial Consolidation Ending in Philadelphia


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Asbestos-related cancer costs Canadians billions

A first-ever estimate of the toll of asbestos-related cancers on society pegs the cost of new cases at $1.7-billion per year in Canada, and notes that is likely an under-estimate.

The economic burden of lung cancer and mesothelioma from work-related asbestos exposure in Canada amounts to an average of $818,000 per case, according to a team led by health economist and senior scientist Dr. Emile Tompa at the Institute for Work & Health, a research organization, whose calculation includes costs related to health care and lost productivity and quality of life.

This is the first time a tally of these costs has been made public. Asbestos remains the top cause of occupational deaths in Canada: Workers’ compensation boards have accepted more than 5,700 claims since 1996. About 150,000 Canadian workers are exposed to asbestos in their workplaces, the research project Carex Canada estimates, among them construction workers and contractors, mechanics, shipbuilders and engineers. This country continues to allow exports and imports of asbestos, which rose to a six-year high last year. Dozens of other countries, including Australia and Britain, have banned it.

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Source: Asbestos-related cancer costs Canadians billions


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Court rejects $8M verdict in asbestos case

Pointing to problems with expert witnesses, an appeals court Wednesday rejected an $8 million verdict in a case filed by a man who said he suffered mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos in cigarette filters and in other products.

A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal ordered a new trial for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and a “directed” verdict in favor of Crane Co., a manufacturing company.

It ruled against Richard DeLisle, who won the verdict in the Broward County case.

DeLisle alleged that he was exposed to asbestos in filters of Kent cigarettes he smoked in the 1950s.

R.J. Reynolds is a successor company to the manufacturer of Kent cigarettes.

He also alleged exposure in the 1960s in a workplace through sheet gaskets used by Crane Co., a valve and pump manufacturer, the ruling said.

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Source: Court rejects $8M verdict in asbestos case


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Judge Dismisses Union Carbide in Miami Mesothelioma Case

Asbestos mass tort litigation may have been around for more than four decades, but a Miami federal judge found room for novel decisions.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom corrected herself twice on jurisdiction in a case filed against Union Carbide Corp. The orders dealt in part with a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision still in the infancy of its interpretation across the country.

The case before Bloom was filed last year by James Waite, who claimed he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos in Massachusetts starting in the 1940s. Waite has lived in Florida with his wife Sandra, a co-plaintiff, since the late 1970s and was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year. He does not allege any Union Carbide asbestos exposure in Florida.

Waite’s attorneys said he was exposed to asbestos as a landlord while renovating rental apartments using drywall joint compound that contained Union Carbide asbestos and during brake and clutch repairs.

Source: Judge Dismisses Union Carbide in Miami Mesothelioma Case | Daily Business Review

 


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‘Take Home’ Asbestos Death Nets $7M Verdict

BATON ROUGE (CN) – A Louisiana trial judge awarded $7 million to the surviving family members of a woman who died of cancer after years of laundering her husband’s asbestos-tainted clothes .

Myra Williams died from mesothelioma, a disease caused exclusively by exposure to asbestos after years of contact with the material at home through handling her husband’s work clothes. Myra’s husband, Jimmy Williams, worked around asbestos at his job for Placid Oil Co., court documents say.

As part of his job at Placid Oil, according to the documents, Jimmy Williams was required to crawl over equipment insulated with asbestos.

“This caused asbestos dust and fibers to accumulate on his clothing, which he wore home on a daily basis to be laundered by Myra Williams,” Judge Lala Sylvester’s ruling said.

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Source: ‘Take Home’ Asbestos Death Nets $7M Verdict

 


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Mesothelioma victim’s family wins asbestos award

A federal jury in Arizona has awarded a total of $17 million to the surviving spouse and children of a worker who died of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos.

In December 2012, George Coulbourn filed a product liability action in Mohave County Superior Court. He alleged he was exposed to companies’ asbestos-containing products and/or machinery while working as a machinist for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia, from 1959 to 1966, court records show.

After Mr. Coulbourn died of mesothelioma in August 2013, his spouse and children amended his complaint and brought a wrongful death action, records show.

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Source: Mesothelioma victim’s family wins asbestos award – Business Insurance

 


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Justices Consider Any-Exposure Theory

As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in Rost v. Ford Motor over use of the “any exposure” theory by an expert witness in an asbestos trial, the discussion dipped into the territory of “magic words” and hypothetical questions, but one question remained at the core of the conversation: Did Dr. Arthur Frank lay out a sufficient basis for his testimony that Richard Rost’s exposure to Ford Motor Co. products was a causative factor in his developing mesothelioma?

According to Robert L. Byer of Duane Morris, arguing on behalf of Ford, Frank responded to a hypothetical proposed to him by indicating that any exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma. In attempting to further explain his opinion, Byer said, Frank reverted to a theory of cumulative exposure that Byer said is indistinguishable from the any-exposure theory the Supreme Court has said cannot be introduced.

Steven Cooperstein of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler, arguing for Rost, contended that Frank at no time said “each and every breath” is substantially causative. Frank testified that “‘any exposure that can be documented would … play a role and be causative,'” according to Rost’s brief, but Cooperstein said that isn’t the same as opining that any exposure is causative.

“The subtlety of your distinction is lost on me,” Justice Max Baer said.

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Source: Justices Consider Any-Exposure Theory, Asbestos Consolidation

 


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