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Articles Posted in Mesothelioma Court Rulings & Legislation

A U.S. federal judge recently handed down an important ruling in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit that will allow four expert witnesses to testify on behalf of the plaintiff who claims that her husband developed a serious form of lung cancer as a result of negligence on the part of the deceased’s former employer. Attorneys for defendant Air & Liquid Services Inc. had sought to exclude the expert witnesses’ testimony in the case, in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to skirt liability for the harm caused by their client.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the deceased victim worked in the engine room aboard the USS Tuscaloosa in 1974 and was exposed to asbestos containing components during that time. As a result of his exposure to deadly asbestos fibers while serving his country, the deceased developed a rare and deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma.

One of the expert witnesses the plaintiff had intended to call at trial was to testify that during the 1960s and 1970s, ships like the USS Tuscaloosa would have their asbestos-containing gaskets removed and replaced during routine maintenance. Further, the removal and replacement of these asbestos gaskets would often produce airborne asbestos fibers, which would settle on horizontal surfaces  in densely packed machinery spaces and that enginemen like the deceased would work on these types of systems.

The sister of a mesothelioma cancer victim recently filed an asbestos cancer lawsuit against a Nebraska city, alleging that her sibling was exposed to asbestos while working at a now shuttered multi-purpose arena located in the municipality. According to the mesothelioma lawsuit, the victim passed away in February 2020 after a battle with a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos found in the Pershing Center where she worked for decades. She alleged that the town of Lincoln knew or should have known that the asbestos threat existed.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the victim worked at the Pershing Center from 1974 through 2014 and was there during periods where maintenance crews removed or replaced asbestos insulated pipe coverings. The lawsuit further claims that the asbestos ceiling insulation would fall from the ceiling during concerts and due to patrons touching the ceiling. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit alleges that the city of Lincoln was negligent when it failed to properly supervise contractors who worked on the facility or conduct proper tests on the materials present in the environment.

The lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate seeks to recover costs for the victim’s medical bills and burials costs, as well as damages for her pain and suffering while living with her mesothelioma cancer diagnosis before her passing. While nothing can undo the loss of a loved one, the law gives the surviving family members the right to continue claims on the deceased’s behalf and seek justice for the harm caused by negligent parties.

A Louisiana state jury recently handed down a substantial verdict in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a former longshoreman who claims he developed a serious form of lung cancer from years of asbestos exposure during the 1960s. The New Orleans jury found that defendants Ports America Gulfport Inc., Cooper T. Smith Stevedoring Co. Inc. and South African Marine Corp. were all responsible for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis, and awarded the victim $10.3 million in total compensation for his injuries.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, filed in Louisiana Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma from unloading raw asbestos from ships docked at the wharfs he worked from 1964 to 1968. The plaintiff further alleged that he came in contact with asbestos through second hand exposure from the work clothes his father would wear while working as a longshoreman himself.

The lawsuit alleged that the defendants knew or should have known about the dangers posed by asbestos and provided warning to the plaintiff and other workers. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the defendants chose to ignore such information or condoned the concealment of such in order to continue with their business practice of selling asbestos and asbestos-containing products. As a result of the defendants’ negligence, the plaintiff developed mesothelioma and suffered serious injury.

An Ohio appeals court recently revived an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a mesothelioma cancer victim who claimed that he developed a rare and deadly form of lung cancer from years of exposure to asbestos while working with the Bendix brakes. After a Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted the defendant, Honeywell International, Inc., summary judgment in 2017, the Eighth Appellate District in Ohio agreed with the plaintiff that the lower court erred in its decision and that there were genuine issues of fact about the case for a jury to decide in a court of law.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, the plaintiff’s widow alleged that her husband developed mesothelioma from using Bendix brake products developed by Honeywell International while working as a supervisor for a company that manufactured intercity buses. The plaintiff presented testimony from the victim’s coworker that stated the victim spent significant time in the area of the facility where brake work was being done, where asbestos fibers from the defendant’s Bendix brakes were present in the air. Further, the plaintiff claimed that her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers during the time he worked in the area of the facility where Bendix brake linings were grounded.

Fortunately for the plaintiff, the Ohio appeals court agreed that the case should be heard by a jury and gave the victim a chance for his case to be heard in court, six years after his passing in 2014. The case is yet another example of the lengths to which gigantic companies will go in order to skirt liability for the harm caused by the products they knew or should have known could pose a health risk to workers and the general public.

Dozens and potentially hundreds of plaintiffs in asbestos cancer lawsuits in New York state have been left in a bind after Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted serious budget cuts to the states’ court systems as a cost saving measure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The $300 million in cuts to the New York state court system went into effect back in September 2020, after the governor used his executive authority to compensate for the shortfall in his state’s revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under New York state law, all judges over 70 years old must be recertified every two years by the state court administration. The interplay between the recertification process for judges and the state’s budget shortfall means that  four dozen judges did not receive their recertification, in order for the state to save the state money, and will no longer be hearing cases from the bench as of the start of the new year. Estimates put the savings to the state at around $55 million over the next two years from the court system but these will likely have a significant impact on the plaintiffs awaiting trial.

As a result of these actions by New York state, hundreds of asbestos cancer plaintiffs will have their cases pushed back by weeks or even months and years. Unfortunately, time is not a luxury that many asbestos cancer plaintiffs have, as their mesothelioma cancer diagnosis leaves them with just months to live by the time their doctors inform them of their prognosis. Sadly, many are likely to never have their day in court to confront the asbestos companies that caused their terminal cancer diagnosis.

A New York court recently denied an attempt by the defendant in a talcum powder mesothelioma cancer lawsuit to have the case dismissed, which paves the way for the plaintiffs to have their day in court and seek justice for the harm caused by the defendant’s alleged negligence. In its ruling, the court denied defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ motion for summary judgement to dismiss the claim, as well as denying the company’s bid to have claims of potential punitive damages thrown out.

According to the plaintiff’s mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, the victim developed mesothelioma for exposure to asbestos fibers in talcum powder products manufactured by defendant Whittaker Clark and Daniels. The plaintiff claimed that during his time working as a barber in New York City from 1961 until he retired in 2016, he frequently breathed in talcum powder dust from the Clubman talc he applied to clients, which he alleges the defendant knowingly manufactured with asbestos fibers.

In its motion to dismiss the case, the defendant alleged that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma diagnosis was not caused by exposure to talc in Whittaker Clark and Daniels’ Clubman talcum powder, but instead by exposure to asbestos in the victim’s native Italy where he lived until he was 25 years old until he immigrated to the United States. Specifically, the defendants claimed that the victim was exposed to asbestos in quarries found in Sicily, Italy. Countering that argument, the plaintiff’s lawyers contended that the victim lived almost 15 miles from the sites in question.

A New Jersey federal judge recently denied a motion to throw out a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by the widow of a man who claimed he developed terminal cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos while serving aboard U.S. Navy ships. With the judge’s ruling, the lawsuit clears an important legal hurdle for the victims’ surviving spouse to hold the defendants accountable for their actions of putting her late husband and potentially other service members at risk for serious health conditions.

According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, the deceased victim was exposed to asbestos fibers while serving aboard U.S.S. Charles H. Roan in the 1960s. The source of the asbestos exposure, according to the lawsuit, was from forced draft blowers manufactured with asbestos-containing gaskets manufactured by defendant Westinghouse. Those parts needed periodical replacement, based on specifications by the U.S. Navy.

Additionally, the U.S.S. Roan was equipped with a pair of boilers manufactured by co-defendant Foster Wheeler, which were also manufactured with asbestos-containing parts, including gaskets, sheet, and packing. Those asbestos parts too were expected to be replaced periodically. Both Westinghouse and Foster Wheeler had argued in their motion for summary judgment that the U.S. Navy was in full control of any maintenance, repair, or overhaul of the ship and further dedicated the type of material that needed to be installed or replaced on the vessel.  As a result, both Westinghouse and Foster Wheeler argued that they did not have a duty to warn for asbestos-containing parts manufactured by third parties.

A New York state appellate court recently upheld the verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by a widower on behalf of his deceased wife who claimed that the defendant in the case was responsible for her diagnosis of terminal cancer caused by exposure to mesothelioma. The defendant, Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, as Successor to Felt Products Manufacturers, had appealed the jury’s award at trial, which handed down a substantial $75 million verdict on behalf of the plaintiff.

The lawsuit against the entity representing Felt Products Manufacturers, filed in a New York City Asbestos Court, claimed that the victim developed mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos containing Fel-Pro gaskets manufactured by the defendant. The mesothelioma cancer lawsuit claimed that the victim regularly helped her husband remove and change asbestos containing engine gaskets from their vehicles and from taking her and her husband’s dusty clothes into their laundry room to clean.

The jury hearing the case at trial awarded damages of $50 million to the victim for pain and suffering, $40 million for past and $10 million for future; and $25 million to her husband for loss of consortium, $15 million for past, $10 million for future. In appealing that award, the defendant asserted that it was excessive and was unwarranted based on the evidence presented at trial. In hearing the appeal, the Supreme Court of the State of New York County of New York vastly reduced the amount of the award, to $12 million for past and $4 million for future pain and suffering for the victim; and for loss of services to $1 million for past, and $250,000 for future damages for her husband.

A Louisiana federal judge recently handed down an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit brought by the estate of a man who claimed he developed mesothelioma after previously settling with the defendant over other asbestos-related health claims. In her ruling, the Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Louisiana determined that the victim’s settlement agreement with the defendant, Avondale Shipyards, did not preclude him from bringing his most recent claim alleging that he developed mesothelioma while working at the facility.

The asbestos cancer lawsuit was brought by the victim’s family on his behalf. The victim had passed away in 2018 due to complications with mesothelioma, and his surviving family took up the lawsuit on behalf of his estate. Defense attorneys for Avondale Shipyard had previously sought to have the case remanded to a federal court back in 2018, claiming that the federal officer removal statute required the case to be heard in a federal district court because the company acted under the direction of a federal entity.

This time, Avondale Shipyard pointed to settlement agreements the victim had entered into with no less than 37 entities back in 1991 concerning his asbestosis diagnosis. Asbestos is a long term inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to exposure to asbestos fibers, usually from breathing in the material. Its symptoms may include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, and chest tightness. In both lawsuits, the plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos fibers during the course of his employment at the shipyard, and sought to hold the defendants accountable for each separate health claim.

The world’s largest chemical company recently agreed to a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who allege that the company lied about the presence of asbestos in its talc, which caused various types of cancer including mesothelioma. Per the terms of the settlement, German chemical company BASF will set aside $72.5 million for plaintiffs who filed asbestos cancer lawsuits against the company between March 1984 and March 2011, including those whose claims were dismissed or voluntarily withdrawn.

The settlement still awaits the approval of a New Jersey federal judge, and if approved, it would allow BASF to resolve claims covered by the agreed upon time period while not admitting any wrongdoing to the allegations made in the lawsuits. Specifically, the claims concerned Englehard Corp., which BASF acquired in 2006, which produced talc based products used in both industrial settings and consumer products.

According to the asbestos cancer lawsuit, one plaintiff claimed that she developed cancer as a result of secondhand exposure to carcinogenic materials brought home on the clothes of her father, who was a research assistant who claimed that the defendants knew about contaminated talc for years. The case went through years of litigation, during which time the case was dismissed but later resurrected by a federal court that found that the defendants engaged in systemic fraud in order to derail the judicial process.

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