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 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

 

March 14, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Precluding a Second Bite at the Apple; Federal District Court Grants Summary Judgment on Basis of Doctrine of Collateral Estoppel
By Tierra Jones

In the interest of justice and courtroom efficiency, res judicata aims to prevent parties from re-litigating previously legally resolved issues and claims involving the same or similar parties. Two doctrines – claim preclusion and issue preclusion – are encompassed in res judicata. Issue preclusion, also known as the doctrine of collateral estoppel, is the narrower doctrine of the two. [Continue Reading]

Personal Jurisdiction and LLCs – Does Citizenship Matter?
By Jen Dlugosz

When deciding whether to remove a case when an LLC is a party it is necessary to look at the citizenship of the LLC’s members to determine whether there is diversity for subject matter jurisdiction. However, citizenship of LLC members is not a key component of personal jurisdiction. The tests for subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction, while sometimes muddled, are in fact distinct. Simply put, just because an LLC is a citizen in the jurisdiction, does not equate to personal jurisdiction over the LLC in that jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Eastern District of Missouri Denies Plaintiff’s Motion to Reconsider Personal Jurisdiction Ruling
By Natalie Holden

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently denied an asbestos plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s previous grant of defendants’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
February 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

February 12, 2018 | Editor: Jen Dlugosz | Assistant Editors: Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden
New Developments
Which Came First: Subject Matter or Personal Jurisdiction?
By Mary Kate Mullen

Two recent Eastern District of Missouri cases examined the same issue, yet the court reached opposite results. In Lewis v. Johnson & Johnson and Jinright v. Johnson & Johnson, the court considered whether subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction should be decided first. [Continue Reading]

Fifth Circuit Sets Bright Line Rule for Timing Requirement Under Federal Officer Removal Statute
By Tierra Jones

In January 2018, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated a district court’s remand of an asbestos case to state court for being untimely, based on a federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C § 1442 (“Statute”). The Court of Appeals found that the Statute allows for removal of a case within 30 days after the date a defendant received the transcript of an oral deposition providing a basis for removal, as opposed to the date on which the relevant deposition testimony was taken. [Continue Reading]

An Analysis of the Pennsylvania Fair Share Act and its Application to Asbestos Litigation, in Light of the Recent Ruling in Roverano v. John Crane, Inc.
By Theresa Mullineaux

In December, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that the Fair Share Act applies to asbestos litigation, meaning that defendants are only responsible for the percent they are found liable. Prior to the enactment of the Fair Share Act, a defendant found liable could be on the hook for the entire verdict. [Continue Reading]

Upcoming Events
DRI – Toxic Torts and Environmental Law
March 1-2, 2018
Nashville, TN

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

Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
January 2018

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Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram | YouTube
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

January 17, 2018
New Developments
A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions
By Taylor Concannon

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in cases such as BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California continued the trend that began in Goodyear and Daimler and reaffirmed its limits on personal jurisdiction for corporate defendants. [Continue Reading]

Summary of 2017 Talc Verdicts
By Natalie Holden

After several multi-million dollar verdicts in talc and ovarian cancer trials in 2016, 2017 proved to be a more interesting year, with some plaintiff verdicts and some defense verdicts. There are currently thousands of talc related claims pending across the United States. The defendants in this litigation maintain that the science does not support the claims that personal care powder products cause ovarian cancer. [Continue Reading]

Missouri Court of Appeals Reverses Defense Verdict Finding Trial Court’s Allowance of Four Defense Experts as Cumulative and an Abuse of Discretion
By Natalie Holden and Jen Dlugosz

In Shallow v. Follwell, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District, Division Four, held that the trial court abused its discretion by permitting the “unfairly cumulative and prejudicial repetition of expert opinions from [defense] expert witnesses.” [Continue Reading]

Texas Court of Appeals Denies Rehearing in Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Rogers
By Joe Ellis, Anne McLeod and Natalie Holden

In Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company v. Rogers, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding the calculation of exemplary damages awarded under the Texas statute governing the exemplary damages cap to calculate a judgment amount in the case of an employer defendant found grossly negligent where the deceased employee claimed exposure to asbestos. [Continue Reading]

Connect with us: Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn
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 Archive
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Toxic Tort Monitor

October 5, 2016
New Developments
Illinois Supreme Court finds Six Person Jury Demand Unconstitutional
By Jen Dlugosz

On June 1, 2015, Public Act 1132 (the “Act”) became effective. The Act reduced the size of civil juries in Illinois to 6 persons from 12 persons, thus litigants demanding a jury after June 1, 2015 could no longer demand a 12-person jury. The Act also increased the amount paid per day to jurors. Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court found the Act unconstitutional. [Continue Reading]

Arizona Court of Appeals Rejects Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Claim
By David Dean

An Arizona court of appeals recently held that no duty was owed to a family member who contracted mesothelioma due to alleged take-home exposure. In Quiroz v. Alcoa, Inc., et al., No. 1 CA-CV 15-0083 (2016), the Arizona Court of Appeals was asked to decide whether an employer owes a duty of care to the family member of an employee who contracts mesothelioma due to asbestos brought home on the employee’s work clothing. Noting that the question was a matter of first impression in Arizona, the Court held that no duty was owed, and affirmed summary judgment for the employer. [Continue Reading]

Third Circuit Finds Corporate Defendants in Asbestos Lawsuit Waived Personal Jurisdiction Defense
By Jenna Marie Stupar

On August 18, the Third Circuit reversed a ruling in the District Court of Pennsylvania that dismissed an asbestos suit against corporate defendants the Matson Navigation Company, Inc. (“Matson”) and American President Line, Ltd. (“American”) for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Upcoming Events
DRI – Asbestos Medicine
November 10-11, 2016
New Orleans, LA

Mark Zellmer will be speaking at this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

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]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
September 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

September 2, 2016
New Developments
Toward a Defense of Mesothelioma Cases on Causation: Low Doses and Genetics
By Mark Zellmer

Today’s defendants in asbestos litigation often face plaintiffs’ claims that they have contracted mesothelioma from exposure to low or even doubtful doses of asbestos. If the mesothelioma looks to be spontaneous (idiopathic) or the result of an exposure so low that it will not cause the disease or the mesothelioma, genetics may provide the alternate explanation to satisfy the jury about why plaintiff or decedent has mesothelioma. [Continue Reading]

California Supreme Court Exercises Personal Jurisdiction Over Pharmaceutical Manufacturer
By Jen Dlugosz

This week the California Supreme Court ruled that Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) is subject to personal jurisdiction of the California courts on the basis of specific jurisdiction. See Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court (Anderson), S221038, slip op. (Cal. Aug. 29, 2016).  This decision upheld the Court of Appeals decision that found that BMS’s activities in California were “insufficient to subject it to general jurisdiction in the state but that, given the nature of the action and BMS’s activities in California,” California courts may properly exercise specific personal jurisdiction over BMS in this matter. [Continue Reading]

Editor of the Month
Mark Zellmer is a Mark ZellmerHusch Blackwell partner and handles asbestos litigation throughout the nation and acts as national counsel for various firm clients. Over the last several years, he has concentrated much of his litigation work, publishing and speaking on the subjects of the causation and epidemiology of mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. He has published and spoken extensively on the asbestos litigation, including concepts of asbestos medicine, the interplay of workers’ compensation and asbestos litigation in civil courts, application of OSHA to asbestos litigation and numerous other topics.
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 – Asbestos Medicine
November 10-11, 2016
New Orleans, LA

Mark Zellmer will be speaking at this DRI seminar; we hope to see you there!

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]

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]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
July 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

July 1, 2016
New Developments
Fifth District Ordered to Hear Ford Motor Company’s Appeal on Personal Jurisdiction Motion
By Jenna Marie Stupar and Nicho Kelly

In November, the Madison County Circuit Court denied a motion by Ford Motor Company to dismiss an asbestos case for lack of personal jurisdiction. The court found that Ford’s “substantial” business activities were such that it was at home in Illinois and subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Jeffs v. Anco Insulations, Inc. et al, No. 15-L-533 (Cir. Ct. Mad. Co. 2015).  Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court granted Ford’s motion for a supervisory order with the Illinois Supreme Court under Rule 383, and ordered the Fifth District to hear the appeal. [Continue Reading]

Spring 2016 Asbestos Verdict Summary 
By Jen Dlugosz

In the spring of 2016, there were several significant asbestos verdicts nationwide.  [Continue Reading]

Husch Blackwell Expands into Wisconsin; Combination Adds Depth and Capabilities to Industry-Focused Firm

Husch Blackwell and Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. (WHD), a leading Wisconsin business and litigation law firm, will combine effective July 15, 2016. The move strengthens both firms’ commitment to providing industry knowledge and experience to clients. The combined firm will retain the Husch Blackwell name and will continue to operate in all markets where both firms currently have offices. With the addition of WHD’s offices in Milwaukee, Madison and Waukesha County, Wis., as well as Chicago, the combined firm will have more than 700 attorneys and offices in 19 cities. Husch Blackwell and WHD had combined annual revenues of approximately $346 million in 2015, placing the firm among the Am Law 100, The American Lawyer’s annual ranking of the nation’s 100 top-grossing law firms.

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]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
June 2016

Toxic Tort Monitor

June 2, 2016
New Developments
Southern District of Illinois Rules it Does Not Have Personal Jurisdiction Over Defendant in Asbestos Case
By Jenna Marie Stupar

This March, the Southern District of Illinois ruled in favor of Defendant The William Powell Company (“Powell”) on its motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. [Continue Reading]

Missouri Borrowing Statute: Applying Illinois’ Two-Year Statute of Limitations and Sinking Time-Barred Claims on Their Voyage across the Mississippi River 
By Eric Carlson

In the Wolfe v. Armstrong International, Inc. case pending in Missouri Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, various defendants obtained dismissal by arguing their wrongful death claims brought in Missouri were governed by the Illinois Wrongful Death Act and that the Missouri borrowing statute required application of Illinois’ two-year statute of limitations, rather than Missouri’s three-year statute of limitations. [Continue Reading]

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]
Toxic Tort Monitor Archive
May 2016