Author Archives: Jason A. Botticelli

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New Jersey’s High Court Opens Door for Toxic Tort Liability to Individuals Other Than Spouses in Take-Home Exposure Cases

In a recent decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the premise liability of a landowner can go beyond the spouse of an exposed person of a toxic substance on the landowner’s property. In its ruling, the court would not set a limitation as to how far the duty could extend, but stressed each case would have to be determined on its own facts. In the case, the plaintiffs, Paul and Brenda Ann Schwartz, claimed that Mr. Schwartz was exposed to beryllium that…

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Simply Naming Defendants in Interrogatory Responses Held Insufficient For Plaintiff to Prevent a Shifting of Burden of Proof on Summary Judgment In New York, Erie County Case

On May 26, 2016 a decision and order in Blamowski v. Air & Liquid Systems, Inc., et al., Index No. 808655/2014 came down granting summary judgment to several defendants in a take-home deceased mesothelioma case. In this case, it was alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from laundering her husband, Eugene Blamowski’s, work clothes. Mr. Blamowski worked as a laborer at Bethlehem Steel from 1955-84, with the exception of his Army service from 1958–62. He and the decedent were married in 1965…

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Asbestos Tape

Plaintiffs’ Bar Continues to Find Creative Ways to Stretch the Boundaries of Claims in Asbestos Actions

As previously reported by Product Liability Playbook, the plaintiffs’ bar continues to seek to expand the scope of liability in asbestos cases beyond injured individuals who directly worked with asbestos-containing products. The past year has seen an increase in “bystander” and “take home” exposure cases in which the injured party may have worked in the vicinity of others working with asbestos-containing materials or, in take-home cases, come into contact with the work clothes of individuals directly working with asbestos-containing products. As time goes on, the…

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A Lesson from the Lusitania 100 Years Later

The famous quote by George Santayana that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” can be an important reminder to companies and manufacturers to learn from past mistakes. And it is always best to learn from others’ mistakes before making them yourself. The misuse of a safety device during the sinking of the Lusitania 100 years ago can provide a powerful lesson still today. On a pleasant afternoon on May 7, 1915, the top echelon luxury liner of her…

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Rising Verdicts in Recent Upstate New York Asbestos Cases May Lead To Higher Settlement Demands and Fewer Trials

In the last several months, there have been several significant plaintiffs’ verdicts in asbestos cases that may have lasting impact on the way asbestos matters are settled and tried in upstate New York. With any litigation, a company and its attorneys will assess jury verdicts in a particular jurisdiction when analyzing whether or not a case should be tried or settled. Three recent cases may encourage plaintiffs’ attorneys to seek higher settlement demands and make defendants less likely to pursue a case to jury verdict…

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Mixed Results for Bare Metal Defense in Asbestos Cases Around The Country

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in defendants’ raising the “bare metal defense” in asbestos cases across the country. As the name implies, this defense is generally used by manufacturers that made bare metal products, such as pipes, pumps and valves. Subsequently, aftermarket, the bare metal product is altered by a third-party with an asbestos-containing product — oftentimes thermal insulation, gaskets, or packing material. The manufacturers of the original bare metal product thus argue  that they should not be responsible for…

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Garlock’s Pending Deal May Reduce Future Amounts Required for Asbestos Trusts and Assist with Bankruptcy Transparency

Last year, Judge George Hodges, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, ruled that $125 million was an adequate set-aside amount for Garlock Sealing Technologies’ (GST) asbestos claims. Asbestos plaintiffs had been originally seeking a set-aside of almost $1.3 billion. In an attempt to resolve the ongoing litigation, GST recently made an offer to set aside $358 million. Concerns regarding the lack of transparency in the asbestos bankruptcy trust system have been prevalent amongst asbestos defendants for…

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“Take Home” and “Bystander” Asbestos Cases on the Rise as a New York Jury Awards a $7.7 Million Verdict

There has been an increase in asbestos cases where the injured party did not directly work with an asbestos containing product. Last month we reported on a California court allowing a “take home” exposure case to proceed where a nephew claimed exposure to asbestos from being at his uncle’s house and near his uncle in his work clothes. Take home exposure cases have traditionally been a spouse exposed to asbestos from laundering asbestos laden work clothes over a number of years,  as opposed to visiting…

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California Court Extends Duty to Warn in “Take Home” Asbestos Case

Earlier this year, the California First Appellate District Court of Appeals widened the net of potential plaintiffs beyond spouses in “take home” asbestos cases. The plaintiff,  diagnosed with mesothelioma,  sued multiple defendants including companies where he had occupational exposure to asbestos, as well as a company at which his uncle worked. In naming this latter defendant, the plaintiff claimed that he was exposed to asbestos through his uncle’s work clothes. Typical take home asbestos exposure cases usually involve a spouse (most often a wife) that…

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Trademark Returns From The Grave

Manufacturers should consider potential trademark infringement issues associated with the names of the products they sell. Recently, WowWee Group Limited was in the frightening position of having one of its marks rejected. WowWee manufactures a toy line entitled “Once Upon A Zombie.” This toy line zombifies classic princesses such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. The Zombie Cinderella mark had a stake put through its heart but soon rose from the dead. The United States Patent and Trademark Office initially barred the mark registration…

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