Category Archives: Asbestos

Pennsylvania Employers Beware – Tort Claims for Asbestos Exposure May Be Coming Your Way

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an opinion recently that should have all employers (or at least those in Pennsylvania) considering what kind of exposure they may have from employees that develop asbestos-related disease outside of the 300-week period prescribed by the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA). The court in consolidated actions (See Tooey v. AK Steel Corp.) held that common law claims against an employer for an occupational disease resulting from asbestos exposure which manifests more than 300 weeks after the last occupational exposure are not…

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House Passes Asbestos Claim Transparency Bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Furthering Asbestos Claim Transparency (FACT) Act by a narrow margin. As previously reported in Risky Business, the legislation amends the Bankruptcy Code to require asbestos trusts to file quarterly reports that detail claimants’ names, the amount paid to each claimant and the basis for such payment. The stated goal is to allow the over 60 asbestos trusts with over $40 billion in total assets to compare claims and prevent plaintiffs from making fraudulent and inconsistent filings.…

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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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Beginnings of Success Using Federal Racketeering Statute to Combat Fraudulent Lawsuits

As this blog reported earlier this month, national freight and railroad company, CSX Transportation, recently succeeded in using the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to obtain triple damages from a Pennsylvania law firm that brought a slew of fraudulent asbestos lawsuits against it. Now, multinational energy corporation, Chevron, looks to follow on the heels of CSX’s success in an action against noted Manhattan plaintiffs’ attorney, Steven Donziger, for bringing an allegedly fraudulent environmental lawsuit against the company in Ecuador…

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Maryland: Failure to Allow Apportionment of Causes of Lung Cancer is Reversible Error

Maryland’s second highest court recently held that the trial court’s failure to allow expert testimony regarding the relative contribution of cigarette smoking as a cause of plaintiff’s lung cancer was reversible error and remanded for a new trial. In The Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust v. Sonia Carter, et. al. (No. 84, September Term, 2013, Md. App.), a Baltimore-based insulation contractor appealed verdicts rendered against it in four consolidated asbestos matters on a variety of grounds. In one of the cases, Roger C. Hewitt sued…

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CSX Awarded Triple Damages on Allegations of Fraudulent Asbestos Claims

The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of West Virginia recently tripled a jury’s near $430,000 jury verdict pursuant to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against two former members of Pittsburgh’s Robert Peirce & Associates, an asbestos plaintiff’s firm, and radiologist Ray Harron. CSX Transportation brought suit five years ago alleging that attorneys Robert Peirce and Louis Raimond conspired with Harron, who lost his medical license in 2007 amid accusations of fraudulent diagnoses, to manufacture hundreds of claims, eleven of…

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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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Pennsylvania Narrows Its Rejection Of Every Exposure Theory

In July, Risky Business reported on two more jurisdictions rejecting the “every exposure” causation theory. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected the theory years ago; but now, a Superior Court has narrowed that rejection and left a door open which may lead to every exposure-like theories being reintroduced into the asbestos litigation landscape. In Campbell v. A.W. Chesterton Inc. (No. 2005 EDA 2012; Pa. Super. Ct.), a Pennsylvania Appellate Court upheld a $1.29 million verdict where the only defendant held liable argued that plaintiff’s expert…

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Garlock’s Bankruptcy Trial Closes – Only Decision on Value of Future Liability Remains

In 2010, Garlock Sealing Technologies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection seeking the formation of an asbestos trust to assume any future liability related to its manufacture of asbestos-containing gaskets. The case, filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of North Carolina, finally went to trial in July and wrapped up after three weeks of testimony. Now, one key decision rests in the hands of Judge George Hodges – how much money will Garlock need to place in trust for future…

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Pennsylvania Jury Finds Smoking Plaintiff 85% Liable for Lung Cancer

In Liptak v. Crane Co. (No. 1111-02145, Pa. Comm. Pls., Philadelphia Co.), a Pennsylvania jury found that plaintiff, a cigarette smoker, was 85% liable for his lung cancer. The remaining 15% liability was attributed to Crane Co. on the grounds that plaintiff was exposed to asbestos from gaskets and packing used on its products. The vast majority of asbestos matters that go to trial are mesothelioma cases. According to Mealey Publications, all but two of the 28 asbestos verdicts in 2012 dealt with plaintiffs…

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