Author Archives: H. Lockwood Miller III

New Jersey Asbestos Judge to Change

Asbestos personal injury litigation in New Jersey has been centralized in Middlesex County for many years, and since September 2012, all such cases have been assigned to Judge Vincent LeBlon.  After presiding over the asbestos docket for nearly 18 months, a change is coming in New Jersey, with Judge Ana Viscomi slated to take over for and replace Judge LeBlon overseeing all asbestos cases pending in Middlesex County.  Judge Viscomi previously served during the 1990s as the Special Master for asbestos litigation in Middlesex County,…

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Judge Posner Admonishes Lawyers (and Judges) to Pay Attention to Science

In case you missed it, Judge Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion several weeks ago in which he takes to task lawyers — and judges — who shy away from addressing issues of science and medicine in their cases.  The opinion, issued in case called Jackson v. Pollion, involved claims by a Illinois prison inmate that two prison employees committed a federal constitutional tort by depriving him of his hypertension medication for about three…

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Verdict for Plaintiff in New Jersey Talc Asbestos Case

Limited details are available, but we are hearing reports that a jury in Middlesex County, New Jersey has rendered a verdict for the plaintiff in an asbestos lawsuit in which the alleged asbestos exposure was claimed to have been through talc. The plaintiff claimed that he was exposed to asbestos when his father, who worked for a company that manufactured personal care products using talcum powder, brought home asbestos-containing talc on his clothes. The verdict is reportedly $1.6 million, which includes $1.4 million for the…

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Statute of Repose and Independent Contractor Defense Save Asbestos Defendants

While asbestos litigation remains active in New Jersey with numerous cases wending their way through the trial court level, appellate decisions, even unpublished ones, are relatively less common.  Earlier this month saw one such opinion, however. The decision, in a case entitled Barile v. 3M Company, et al., addresses two issues that may prove to be beneficial to asbestos defendants in New Jersey. The case involved a deceased union insulator who claimed asbestos exposure at numerous job sites.  One of the sites was an Exxon…

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No Texting to Someone Who Is Driving

This week, a panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division made national news by recognizing the potential liability for someone who sends a text to a driver who reads the text and is then involved in an accident.  This decision predictably resulted in a significant amount of commentary, including from our colleague Sean Stadelman.  A copy of Sean’s discussion, originally published on the Goldberg Segalla risk mitigation blog, Risky Business, is here. While not squarely within the areas of product liability or consumer…

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New Jersey’s Centralized Litigation Program: Not Just for Pharmaceuticals

As we have discussed previously, New Jersey has an active and established system for handling related lawsuits under its centralized litigation management program.  Most, but not all, of the litigations under this program generally have been and continue to be personal injury lawsuits involving pharmaceuticals or medical devices. Recently, a new application was submitted for centralization of a number of property-damage subrogation claims involving DuraPro brand toilet supply lines.  Comments with regard to the application are due by July 12, 2013, after which the New…

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More on Res Ipsa Loquitor

Recently, we discussed an expansion of the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor in New Jersey, as evidenced by the opinion from the New Jersey Appellate Division in the case of Mayer v Once Upon A Rose.  Notwithstanding that decision, a subsequent res ipsa loquitor opinion from the New Jersey Appellate Division has reached what appears to be a confounding result. In Gamez v. St. Edward the Confessor Parish, the plaintiff claimed to have been injured by a cross that fell from a…

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The Truth May Set You Free, But Lying Can Get You Tossed Out Of Court

Earlier this week, the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the dismissal, with prejudice, of an asbestos plaintiff’s claims as a result of his pervasive lies during discovery. The plaintiff, Michael Gaskill, commenced an asbestos-exposure lawsuit in Middlesex County in 2008, alleging that he had developed mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos-containing products while working as a mechanic’s helper at local auto body shops and while assisting his grandfather in automotive maintenance and repair work.  As the defendants investigated the plaintiff’s claims, however, it became clear that…

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No Ongoing Duty to Advise Opponent of Intentions Regarding Expert Testimony at Trial

Tactical decisions involving whether to present expert testimony are often made up to the eve of, and sometimes even during, trial.  In a recent unpublished decision that should be comforting to trial attoneys across New Jersey in all manner of cases, our Appellate Division ruled this week that defense counsel “did not violate any duty of candor to the tribunal and his adversary by not disclosing his trial tactics on an ongoing basis.” A copy of the panel’s decision in Fields v. Hackensack University Medical

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New Jersey Judicial Survey Released

The New Jersey Law Journal recently released its sixth cyclical survey (free registration required) of New Jersey’s trial judges.  While some readers may simply rush out to see where their favorite judges ranked amongst their peers, we know that New Jersey has a great many fine judges.  This survey can be a useful tool for lawyers who may be appearing before a judge for the first time, and can be a resource for lawyers to draw upon when responding to client requests for information about…

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