Category Archives: Asbestos

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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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475449310

California Supreme Court Tackles Sophisticated Intermediary Doctrine

Raw suppliers that place their products in the stream of commerce face a dilemma regarding the uncertainty of their duty to warn of the potential hazardous nature of their products. The sophisticated intermediary doctrine is one weapon a raw supplier has against the presumption that a supplier of a hazardous raw material has a general duty to warn all downstream users. The sophisticated intermediary doctrine originated in the Restatement Second of Torts in an attempt to define the duty of a supplier. The doctrine allows…

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shipbuilding, ship repair

United States District Court Grants Partial Summary Judgment on Product Liability Claims to Shipbuilder on Basis that the Ship is the “Product,” Not the Component Parts

The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington recently granted partial summary judgment on product liability claims to a company who built and supplied vessels to the United States Navy, on the basis that a shipbuilder’s product is the “ship” and not the component parts which have contained asbestos. In Hassebrock V. Air & Liquid Systems, Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. Lexis 13775, Plaintiffs sued numerous defendants alleging that Plaintiff Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos manufactured, sold or distributed by numerous…

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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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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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Key NYCAL Asbestos Rulings Following $190 Million Verdict. What Does It Mean?

On February 5, 2015, New York County Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden issued a post-trial decision involving an asbestos consolidated trial that resulted in a $190 million plaintiffs’ verdict for five mesothelioma plaintiffs. The most notable part of the 29 page decision related to reduction of damages. Here, the Court reduced the $190 million jury verdict to just under $30 million.  In re: New York City Asbestos Litig. (Assenzio) (Brunck) (Levy) (Serna) (Vincent), 2014 WL 514932 (Sup. Ct. New York Cty. 2015). In doing…

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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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Illinois Law Amendments to Impact Civil Jury Sizes and Asbestos Claim Potential

Two recent amendments to the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure will have a significant impact upon future civil damage cases and asbestos exposure claims. The first pertains to the reduction of jurors in civil trials from 12 to six jurors. The second relates to the exclusion of asbestos-related injury claims from the construction statute of repose. Effective June 1, 2015, jury demands in civil cases will be limited to six jurors (735 ILCS 5/2-1105 as amended by Public Act 098-1132). The requirement for a civil…

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