Toxic Tort Monitor

November 12, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
Federal Court in Washington Holds Risks of Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Were Not Foreseeable Prior to 1955
By Paul Cranley

In a recent decision of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the court held that the dangers of secondary asbestos exposure were not foreseeable in and before 1955. In particular, the Court held that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs in favor or their “take-home exposure” theory was insufficient to allow a jury to find that prior to 1955, defendant Union Pacific “knew or should have known of the risk that secondary asbestos exposure posed to its employees’ family members.” [Continue Reading]

Cook County Jury Awards $6M in Plaintiff’s Verdict
By Jen Dlugosz

In October, a Cook County jury awarded a $6 million dollars to the family of a deceased pipefitter in a mesothelioma trial. John Crane, Inc. was the only remaining defendant at trial. Plaintiff alleged that the decedent, a union pipefitter, worked with and around John Crane products. John Crane argued at trial that the decedent did not testify that any of the defendant’s gaskets or packings contained asbestos. [Continue Reading]

Department of Justice Acts to Fight Asbestos Trust Fraud
By

On September 13, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its first ever Statement of Interest in the bankruptcy of an asbestos company, signaling that DOJ intends to prioritize fraud and mismanagement relating to asbestos trusts. The Statement, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina in the Chapter 11 proceedings for Kaiser Gypsum Company, asserts that the proposed trust plans lack adequate safeguards and indicates that DOJ will object unless the final plan better ensures transparency and prevents fraud. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
August/September 2018

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Toxic Tort Litigation Practice

Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]

 

Toxic Tort Monitor

July 25, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
Delaware Supreme Court holds that Both Manufacturers and Employers can be Liable for Take-Home Exposure
By Jackson Otto

In Ramsey v. Georgia Southern University Advanced Development Center, et al., C.A. No. N14C-01-287 ASB, Delaware’s Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Superior Court granting summary judgment to manufacturers of asbestos-containing products in a take-home exposure case. Plaintiffs alleged that Elizabeth Ramsey, wife of Robert Ramsey, was the person who did the family’s laundry and regularly washed her husband’s asbestos covered uniform. Mrs. Ramsey died from lung cancer in 2015. [Continue Reading]

Arizona Affirms that Employers Owe No Duty of Care to Nonemployees
By Natalie Holden and Anna Choi

In its recent decision, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant Reynolds Metal Company (“Reynolds”), holding that under the State’s laws an employer owed no duty of care to protect an employee’s family from secondary asbestos exposure. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
June 2018

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Toxic Tort Litigation Practice

Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]

Toxic Tort Monitor

June 18, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editor: Natalie Holden
New Developments
New Tool for Non-Resident Defendants Seeking to Challenge Personal Jurisdiction in Illinois
By Dominque Savinelli

If you are a non-resident corporate defendant in Cook County, Illinois, you should become familiar with Campbell v. Acme Insulations, Inc., as it will undoubtedly serve as a useful blueprint for future challenges to the exercise of personal jurisdiction in that state. [Continue Reading]

United States Supreme Court to Consider the Bare Metal Defense
By Andrew Hahn

The United States Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari in Air and Liquid Systems Corp. et al. v. Devries et al. and is set to wade into the fiercely contested waters surrounding the bare metal defense under maritime law. Generally, the bare metal defense asserts that defendants that manufactured products composed of only metal, and no asbestos components, have no liability regarding asbestos-containing components later utilized in or on their products. The Court will directly address the question: “Can products-liability defendants be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products that they did not make, sell, or distribute?” [Continue Reading]

Missouri Supreme Court Holds that the Workers Compensation Additional Mesothelioma Benefit Provides Claims-Made Coverage Trigger
By Eric B. Krauss

In Accident Fund Ins. Co. v. Casey, the Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determination that Respondent, the employer’s workers compensation insurer, was liable for Appellant’s claim for enhanced mesothelioma benefits. [Continue Reading]

“Take-Home More than Seashells”: Rhode Island Court Rules that Employer Owes Duty of Care to Protect Third-Party Non-Employees
By Ketajh Brown

The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations—contemporarily nicknamed “the Ocean State” is known for famous clear-broth Quahog clam chowder, The Breakers Mansion, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and its Napatree Point Conservation Area beaches covered in seashells.  While tourists often take home Napatree’s brilliant and pristine shells, a recent Superior Court opinion of first impression addressed whether Rhode Island law imposes duty of care upon employers to protect third-party non-employees from take-home asbestos exposure. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
May 2018

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Toxic Tort Litigation Practice

Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]

Toxic Tort Monitor

 

May 15, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Order of Operations: Maryland’s Highest Court Analysis of the Statute of Repose and Discovery Rule’s Applicability to Asbestos Cases
By Soham Desai

On March 28, 2018, the Court of Appeals of Maryland, Maryland’s highest court, was asked to: (1) determine whether the state’s statute of repose was ambiguous as to when an injury and cause of action “arise” within the scope of the statute and, (2) discuss the applicability of the discovery rule in relation to the manifestation of a latent disease. The Court found that, in a case involving a steamfitter’s alleged asbestos exposure, the plaintiff’s claims were not barred as the date of his last exposure to asbestos containing products determined whether the statute of repose applied. [Continue Reading]

Pennsylvania Court Finds That an Employer’s Take-Home Duty Can Extend to Girlfriends of Former Employees
By Sarah Rashid

A Pennsylvania District Court recently denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment of the issue of duty, finding that that an employer’s take home duty may in certain situations extend to the girlfriend of a former employee. Plaintiff Brenda Schwartz and her husband, Paul Schwartz (“Plaintiffs”), brought a negligence action against Defendant Accuratus Corporation (“Defendant”), alleging that Mrs. Schwartz had contracted chronic beryllium disease (“CBD”) from exposure to beryllium brought home on Mr. Schwartz’s clothes while he was an employee of Defendant. Mrs. Schwartz also claims exposure to beryllium from Mr. Schwartz’s roommate, Gregory Altemose, who was also an employee of Defendant. [Continue Reading]

District Court in Washington Reverses Course on Personal Jurisdiction?
By Jackson Otto

In recent years federal courts have clarified and narrowed the scope of personal jurisdiction as it applies to nonresident defendants, particularly in mass tort and toxic exposure cases. However, a recent decision coming out of Washington appears to buck this trend. In Donald Varney and Maria Varney v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington had an opportunity to decide motions brought by Defendants Taco, Inc. and Aurora Pump Company to dismiss for failure to state a claim, for lack of standing, to strike Plaintiffs’ request for pre-judgment interest, and most notably for lack of personal jurisdiction. The Court denied each of the Defendants’ motions. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
April 2018

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Toxic Tort Litigation Practice

Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]

Toxic Tort Monitor

 

April 16, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Cook County Circuit Court Denies Personal Jurisdiction Motion in Asbestos Case
By Anne McLeod

The Circuit court in Cook County, Illinois has recently clarified one of the limitations on which it applies personal jurisdiction and venue protections to Defendants in asbestos cases. In John C. Clark v. A.W. Chesterton Company, et al., the Court performed personal jurisdictional analyses of general and specific jurisdiction, and also analyzed Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss for forum non conveniens. While the Defendant in this case won the argument on general jurisdiction, it lost the arguments on specific jurisdiction and forum non conveniens. The court reasoned that Plaintiff’s “take-home” exposure to asbestos brought both the Defendant’s actions and the alleged resulting injury into Illinois. [Continue Reading]

“Sue-me State” or “Show-me State”: The Latest Push for Asbestos Exposure Tort Reform in Missouri
By Ketajh Brown and Jen Dlugosz

The stage is set for a heated showdown between GOP leaders and bipartisan critics over implementation of HB 1645. If adopted by the Senate, the bill would alter several provisions related to a plaintiff’s ability to bring asbestos tort claims. The main contention sparked by HB 1645 requires plaintiff-side attorneys to identify and file claims against all potentially liable defendants or bankruptcy trusts at the onset of lawsuits alleging injury from asbestos exposure. The idea behind this segment of the bill is twofold: (1) to embed built-in transparency preconditions allowing asbestos claim resolution with minimal delay; and (2) thwart the practice of “double-dipping” by granting injured plaintiffs compensation from one defendant at a time—before pursuing claims against additional defendants. [Continue Reading]

Another Take on “Take-Home” Exposure in California: Foglia v. Moore Dry Dock Co.
By Theresa Mullineaux

A California appellate court recently upheld the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in a secondary exposure asbestos case where Plaintiffs could offer no admissible evidence that decedent’s father worked around asbestos-containing materials. The trial court excluded plaintiff’s testimony regarding his father’s work because he acknowledged he had no personal knowledge and also sustained defendant’s objections to an affidavit of decedent’s aunt who likewise had no personal knowledge of decedent’s father’s work. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
March 2018

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Toxic Tort Litigation PracticeCompanies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]

Toxic Tort Monitor

August 3, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration in Take-Home Exposure Case
By Jen Dlugosz

In May 2016, we reported the Northern District of Illinois’ decision in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016). Following that ruling, plaintiff moved for reconsideration of the court’s ruling under FRCP 54(b). This summer, the court issued its decision denying plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration and granting Rule 12(c) motions to dismiss brought by six other defendants on the basis of the court’s prior ruling. [Continue Reading]

Take-Home Toxic Tort Cases: New Jersey Supreme Court Explains Duty of Care
By Jenna Marie Stupar and Madison Mapes

On July 6, 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion holding that, in certain cases, the duty of care in take-home exposure cases could be expanded to plaintiffs beyond spouses of employees working with toxins in Schwartz v. Accartus Corporation. The Court found that an employer’s scope of duty of care in such cases requires a fact specific analysis, including assessing the risk and foreseeability of injury.  The Court did not definitively decide whether the Schwartz plaintiff was owed a duty of care.  Instead, the Court provided that judges must weigh numerous factors including foreseeability, fairness, and predictability in making a duty of care determination. [Continue Reading]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Asbestos Practice
Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
July 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

May 2, 2016
New Developments
Northern District of Illinois Decision on Take-Home Exposure Liability has Limited Application
By Lindsay McClure-Hartman

The Northern District of Illinois in Neumann v. Borg-Warner Morse Tec LLC, No. 15-C-10507, 2016 WL 930662 (N.D. Ill. March 10, 2016), recently granted a motion to dismiss on the basis that a product manufacturer does not owe a duty to a plaintiff in a take-home exposure case. [Continue Reading]

Timing is Everything: Defendant Union Carbide’s Statute of Limitations Argument Rejected in Cook County Asbestos Case
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On February 18, 2016, a Cook County trial court denied Defendant Union Carbide Corporation’s Motion for Summary Judgment in Contreras v. Georgia Pacific et al. (No 13 L 6487). The court held that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to when the Statute of Limitations began to run and refused to grant the motion. [Continue Reading]

Delaware Supreme Court Holds That Appointment of a Registered Agent Alone is Insufficient For Exercise of General Jurisdiction of a Foreign Corporation
By Jen Dlugosz

On April 18, 2016, the Delaware Supreme Court held that registration of a corporation under the Delaware registration statutes does not subject a corporation to personal jurisdiction for any cause of action in the state. [Continue Reading]

April 2016 Asbestos Verdicts Summary
By Jen Dlugosz

[Read the Verdicts Summary]

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Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Asbestos Practice
Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
April 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

March 1, 2016
New Developments
Jury Awards $72 Million in Talc-related Cancer Case in St. Louis
By Jen Dlugosz

Last week, a St. Louis jury awarded $72 million to the family of a victim who alleged that her ovarian cancer was caused by personal use talcum powder. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent used Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and Shower to Shower body powder for feminine hygiene for more than 35 years. [Continue Reading]

District Court in Wisconsin Rules State’s Statute of Repose Does Not Bar Asbestos Claims in Lawsuit
By Jenna Marie Stupar

The Eastern District of Wisconsin started 2016 off with a decision sure to impact the asbestos litigation world. In Ahnert v. Employers Insurance Company of Wausau et al., the District Court ruled that Wisconsin’s Statute of Repose did not foreclose the plaintiff from bringing asbestos-related claims against the defendants and denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Case No. 13-C-1456 (Jan. 6, 2016, E.D. Wis). [Continue Reading]

Notable Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Developments
By Lindsay McClure-Hartman

In the later-half of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, there have been some notable state court decisions on the issues of product and premises liability for secondary or “take-home” exposure to asbestos. Depending on the state, different tests for determining liability are applied, however, the recent decisions discussed below help shed light on how state courts are currently thinking about take-home asbestos exposure cases. [Continue Reading]

Trio of Personal Jurisdiction Motions Denied in Saint Louis City and Madison County
By David D. Dean

In 2015, three foreign corporation asbestos defendants saw their attempts to obtain dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction denied by circuit court judges in Saint Louis City, Missouri, and Madison County, Illinois. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Jen Dlugosz is a Jen Dlugosztoxic tort and product liability litigator in the firm’s Chicago office. She manages day-to-day operations of cases, working closely with clients and co-counsel to develop and implement overall defense strategies. Jen has served as national coordinating counsel for toxic tort claims and defended clients in repetitive litigation and pre-litigation claims stemming from product liability issues and recalls.
Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
Technology, Manufacturing & Transportation
Asbestos Practice
Companies face increasingly well‐coordinated attacks in jurisdictions across the country. These assaults are becoming more complex and costly as plaintiffs’ counsel pursue novel theories and claims to keep asbestos litigation thriving. Husch Blackwell’s team has experience in numerous jurisdictions throughout 37 states. Our attorneys can help you navigate the intricate web of plaintiffs’ firms, changing laws, evolving science and anti-defendant courts. [More information]
Upcoming Events
DRI – Toxic Torts and Environmental Law
March 17-18, 2016
New Orleans, LA

Several of our toxic tort litigators are attending this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!