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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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]

 

The proverbial hacksaw inside a prisoner’s birthday cake has been supplanted by a new technological trend for bringing contraband into the jailhouse – Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”). As early as 2015, a fight broke out at the Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio when a drone carrying tobacco, marijuana, and heroin crashed into a yard inside the facility. That same year, a drone trafficking hacksaw blades, a cellphone, and Super Glue crashed into a maximum security prison in Oklahoma. Similar plots have been attempted in more than a dozen states nationwide, leading states like North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas to ban drone flights over correctional facilities. Perhaps to save us from another pre-emption fight over UAS operational restrictions, the federal government is now following suit.

On June 7, 2018 the FAA announced temporary flight restrictions over federal correctional facilities and certain U.S. Coast Guard facilities. The inclusion of Coast Guard facilities has no connection to the smuggling concerns faced by correctional facilities. Rather, the addition of Coast Guard facilities is simply an expansion of the FAA’s existing flight restrictions at select national security sensitive facilities that are operated by the Departments of Defense and Energy.

The new restrictions went into effect on June 20, 2018 and prohibit UAS operations between the surface and 400 feet above ground in the vicinity of thirty-three Coast Guard and correctional facilities. The restrictions are in effect 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The correctional facilities located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. The Coast Guard facilities are in Maryland, Massachusetts, California, North Carolina, Alaska, Florida, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Failure to comply with FAA and state UAS regulations (including temporary flight restrictions) can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties. Software developers must ensure their products are updated to appropriately avoid these restricted areas, and operators would be wise to check the FAA’s Know Before You Fly app before beginning their missions.

You can reach Husch Blackwell’s experienced team of UAS attorneys by contacting Erik Dullea and Chris Sundberg, who are happy to help your business more effectively utilize UAS technology and stay out of trouble with the FAA.

 

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

Read the full Toxic Tort Monitor Archive

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]

Gun controlThree of the four states to consider tightening their gun-control laws pass new initiatives on Tuesday. Gun-control was on the ballot in Washington, Maine, Nevada, and California.

In California, which already has some of the nation’s most stringent gun laws, voters approved a measure that will outlaw possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, require permits to buy ammunition, and extend California’s program that allows authorities to seize firearms from owners who bought guns legally but are no longer allowed to own them. The gun-control measure, pushed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, was approved by 62 percent of voters as of Wednesday morning. The full text of the measure can be found here. Continue Reading Gun-Control Ballot Initiatives