Friable Thoughts

Monday, October 05, 2009

Duty to Warn for Component Parts Defense Gets Confusing in California

California law on the subject just got confusing. After the Taylor v. Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 564 decision, it appeared manufacturers were immune from liability from asbestos containing component parts made by other entities but used in their products. Recently, another California appellate court refused to follow that holding in O'NEIL v. CRANE CO. In both cases, the defendant manufactured pumps and valves as part of ship systems. O'Neil focused on whether the pumps and valves were components of the ship where Taylor focused on whether insulation, replacement gaskets and packing were components in the pumps and valves. To add more to the confusion, the same appellate district that decided O'Neil issued another opinion a week later in MERRILL v. ELLIOTT CO., agreeing with the Taylor decision.

Given a split in authority, one would think the California Supreme Court will review one, if not more of these decisions. Given that the California Supreme Court declined review of Taylor when it came out may indicate how it would rule. But, perhaps the reasoning of O'Neil will persuade them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Asbestos Defendants Win Insurance Coverage Case

While plaintiff's lawyers love to rail against corporate America, the actual entities that pay most of the settlements and verdicts in asbestos cases are the insurance companies that insure corporate America. So, there's been quite a bit of litigation between asbestos defendants and their insurance companies on just how much coverage is available.

One of the disputes is the meaning of the word "occurrence" in insurance policies. Many policies will limit the amount of coverage per "occurrence". If a corporate entity manufactured asbestos-containing products, they could get sued quite a few times. The issue in Wisconsin was whether an occurrence happens each time a company got sued by a new plaintiff or if the occurrence was the decision to use asbestos in their product and all the subsequent lawsuits derive from that one decision. The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that each time a plaintiff sues is a separate occurrence and thus, the insurance company is on the hook a bit longer than it wanted.

Plastics Eng'g. Co. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Still Filing in Madison County

This article looks into why filings in Madison County have gone up recently. As other states have passed tort reform, it would seem a no-brainer to have cases for out of state plaintiff's moved out of Madison County. The only real theory advanced was the presence of Illinois-based defendant John Crane. But, despite the fact that Madison County has improved its reputation as a plaintiff friendly venue, at the end of the day, it still is a plaintiff friendly venue.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Concord family wins $1.3 million in asbestos death lawsuit

Plaintiff's side wins a few cases in San Francisco. All of the plaintiff's were pipe fitters that worked at industrial sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and the defendant was an insulation contractor.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ohio Medical Criteria Applies Retroactively (again)

NEAL v. A-BEST PRODS. CO. holds that the medical criteria to file an asbestos lawsuit (RC 2307.91, et. seq.) may apply retroactively without violating the Ohio state constitution's prohibition against retroactive laws. Not the first time an appellate court in Ohio has held this but also not the first time an Ohio trial court struck it down as violating the retroactivity rule.

So, you actually have to be sick to file in Ohio.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Doctor with cancer wins $24.2M jury award

A doctor nails Bendix with Florida's largest verdict. Just goes to show juries don't buy the chrysotile defense to mesothelioma. This one also didn't buy the no substantial exposure to brake work either. Of course, defense lawyers rarely send press releases when they get defense verdict and the newspapers don't report defense verdicts as often so who knows what the real batting average is for these defenses.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Anti-asbestos drug could prevent harmful effects

There may be a treatment to prevent an asbestos illness. It appears asbestosis creates a protein similar to the one related to gout. The theory is that a treatment for gout that inhibits that protein may work to protect folks from asbestosis. The proposed treatment won't cure an asbestos-related illness but might might prevent someone exposed from getting ill. As with many new drugs, the jury's still out but it might be worth asking about if you worked around asbestos containing materials.