Asbestos Lawsuit – Latest News and Updates – Lawsuit Information Center Blog

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This post updates the latest news and events concerning asbestos and mesothelioma. This includes court rulings, verdicts, legislative updates, asbestos-related bankruptcy news, and information on asbestos trust funds.

If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma or suspect you might have an asbestos-related case, contact our asbestos lawyers at 800-553-8082.

May 10, 2024 – $13.42 Million Verdict Affirmed

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld a $26.45 million asbestos verdict against Pabst Brewing Co., with $13.42 million payable by the company, under premises liability and negligence claims.

The lawsuit was initiated by a woman following her husband death from mesothelioma, attributed to asbestos exposure during his tenure as a pipefitter at Pabst in the 1970s. The court found sufficient evidence that Pabst had been aware of the asbestos risks but failed to protect employees.

The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages, although Pabst’s punitive damages were capped at twice the amount of compensatory damages, leading to a final judgment against Pabst of $13.42 million. The case underscored Pabst’s ongoing duty under the Wisconsin Safe Place Act to ensure a safe working environment, irrespective of other concurrent liabilities.

May 8, 2024 – $10 Million Verdict Against Pneumo Abex Co.

A California jury awarded $10 million to a woman whose husband succumbed to mesothelioma, a disease attributed to his exposure to asbestos in brake products from Pneumo Abex Co. The court found that the company’s products were defectively designed and failed to perform safely under foreseeable circumstances, which was a significant factor in causing the disease.  The jury’s decision was based on findings that Pneumo Abex knew about the risks associated with asbestos in their brakes but did not take adequate steps to warn users or mitigate the danger. This negligence in communicating the dangers, coupled with the defective design of the products, led to a substantial verdict.

April 30, 2024 – $4 Million Verdict Against BNSF Railway

Last week, a federal jury determined that BNSF Railway played a role in the asbestos-related deaths of two individuals in Libby, Montana. This town has seen thousands suffer from exposure. The jury awarded $4 million in compensatory damages to each of the deceased’s estates, recognizing the spilled asbestos in the town’s rail yard as a significant contributor to their illnesses and subsequent deaths.

BNSF, acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2010, was involved two decades after the closure of the Libby vermiculite mine, which was known for shipping its asbestos-contaminated product by rail.

Despite cleanup efforts, the persistent nature of asbestos-related diseases suggests that those exposed in the past may continue to develop illnesses in the future. The plaintiffs’ asbestos lawsuit alleged that BNSF was aware of the dangers posed by the asbestos-laden vermiculite but failed to take necessary precautions.

April 1, 2024 – S.C. Widow Gets $1.75 Million

A jury in South Carolina awarded $1.75 million to a widow after finding a company liable for negligence due to her husband’s death from mesothelioma following asbestos exposure. The exposure stemmed from the company’s gaskets, used by the husband as a maintenance worker at a plant in the 1970s. The lawsuit involved multiple companies accused of contributing to the husband’s asbestos exposure, but the trial specifically addressed the liability of the company that manufactured the asbestos-containing gaskets.
This was a quick trial.  It began on March 18, with both sides presenting expert testimony regarding the nature of the asbestos exposure and its potential to cause mesothelioma. The company argued that the asbestos in its gaskets was encapsulated and not capable of causing disease, suggesting that other exposures caused the husband’s mesothelioma.
The jury did not agree. It awarded $ 608,783.26 in survival damages, $ 532,433.48 in wrongful death damages, and $ 608,783.26 for loss of consortium.
We sometimes fail to explain what these damages mean.  So let’s take a second and do that:
  • Survival Damages: These are damages awarded for the pain and suffering the husband experienced from the time of asbestos exposure until his death. It represents compensation for the decedent’s injuries, not the family’s loss.
  • Wrongful Death Damages: This compensation is for the family’s loss due to the husband’s death. It typically covers loss of income, companionship, and emotional support.
  • Loss of Consortium: This is awarded to the widow for the loss of her husband’s love, companionship, and support due to his death from mesothelioma.
This was not a particularly large verdict but the jury struggled to agree so this was likely a compromise verdict which often brings about a lesser award.

March 21, 2024 – $23 Million Verdict Upheld in NY

A New York appeals court upheld a $23 million significant jury award to an individual who developed mesothelioma, a serious form of cancer often linked to asbestos exposure.

The victim, a steamfitter from 1962 until 1992, sued over 40 defendants in 2018, alleging that his mesothelioma resulted from asbestos exposures during his career. The trial featured testimony from a range of experts, including a historian, an epidemiologist, a surgeon, a pathologist, and an industrial hygienist.
The jury, convinced by the evidence presented, awarded the individual $23 million for past and future pain and suffering, attributing most of the fault to one company, with a smaller portion assigned to another.

March 15, 2024 – New Asbestos Lawsuit

A Massachusetts woman has initiated a mesothelioma lawsuit in the Massachusetts state court.  Her case breaks new ground as it sues major cosmetics brands like Clinique, L’Oreal, Esteee Lauder, Unilever, Mary Kay, and Pfizer, along with Johnson & Johnson who is no stranger to asbestos lawsuits.  This lawsuit accuses these entities of distributing talcum powder contaminated with asbestos for many years, a factor her suit alleges is directly linked to her mesothelioma.

The complaint suggests that these companies, spanning cosmetics and chemical manufacturing sectors, were aware of the asbestos risk associated with talcum powder. Despite this knowledge, they continued to promote and distribute their products to consumers, who were oblivious to the potential danger.

February 29, 2024 – Asbestos Lawsuit Revived

A Texas appellate court revived on Tuesday a lawsuit against Howmet Aerospace Inc., brought by a man who claims his wife passed away from asbestosis due to her prolonged exposure to asbestos while laundering his work clothes over a span of 25 years. The lower court’s dismissal, based on the purported lack of evidence linking the exposure to the wife’s demise, was overturned. Her death was attributed to “hypoxic respiratory failure” stemming from asbestosis.

The appellate judges highlighted substantial evidence suggesting the wife’s asbestosis resulted solely from asbestos exposure through her husband’s employer, Alcoa Inc. Her husband’s tenure at Alcoa’s facility and her role in cleaning his asbestos-laden work attire were crucial elements of the case. Diagnosed in 2006, she succumbed to the disease in 2015, and the family initiated legal action in 2017.

Contrary to the trial court’s conclusion, the appeals court found the evidence presented—including expert testimony—sufficiently established that the wife’s exposure to asbestos was exclusively through Alcoa, discounting other potential sources. This point was underscored by her limited work history and familial connections to the same Alcoa location.

The appellate court’s decision emphasized the credibility of expert analyses provided by the family, asserting asbestosis as a direct consequence of asbestos exposure, a link not contested by Howmet. Ultimately, it was more probable than not that the wife’s asbestosis and subsequent death were significantly influenced by her exposure to asbestos from handling her husband’s contaminated work garments.

February 19, 2024 – Mesothelioma Dismissal Affirmed

A state appellate panel in Washington determined that a man’s claim against Howmet Aerospace Inc., previously known as Alcoa Inc., lacked sufficient evidence to prove the aerospace company had definitive knowledge of the risk of him developing mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure at its facility.

The ruling upheld the summary judgment dismissal of the lawsuit, concluding that although the plaintiff presented evidence suggesting Alcoa was aware of asbestos-related illnesses among its employees from the mid-20th century to the early 1980s, this did not equate to concrete knowledge of an imminent injury to him specifically.

The decision has prompted plans for a petition for discretionary review by the Washington Supreme Court, challenging the appellate court’s interpretation and its implications for workers’ rights to claim deliberate injury from employers in cases of disease caused by workplace exposure.

February 6, 2024 – Is Now Time for Groundbreaking Asbestos Law?

Could the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act get passed in this election year?

This legislative effort aims to eliminate the use of asbestos in the United States. Named after Alan Reinstein, who passed away from mesothelioma in 2006, the Act seeks to address the significant public health risks posed by asbestos exposure. Its primary goal is to prohibit the mining, importation, use, and distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing products within a year of its enactment, effectively seeking to close the loopholes that have allowed asbestos use to continue in the U.S. despite its known dangers.

The Act also mandates the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and assess the presence of asbestos in both commercial and residential settings, paving the way for a comprehensive understanding of the asbestos exposure risk to the American public. By doing so, it aims to not only prevent new cases of asbestos-related diseases but also to ensure that individuals and communities already exposed or at risk are adequately protected.

It will be difficult to pass anything in Congress in 2024, and business interests and their lobbyists will object. So I am doubtful, but hopeful.

January 23, 2024 – Push Back on the Texas Two-Step

A bipartisan – and I was surprised to see bipartisan is still even a word – a group of US senators appealed to the Supreme Court, urging them to reject a legal maneuver employed by a bankrupt affiliate of Georgia-Pacific LLC.

Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) jointly submitted an amicus brief on Monday, expressing their concerns about what they perceive as the manipulation and misuse of the bankruptcy system.

The legal strategy at issue?  The infamous “Texas Two-Step” allows a company to transfer its liabilities to a newly formed corporate entity and subsequently place that entity into bankruptcy.  It is a strategy that mostly fell flat in 2023.  We need to kill it in 2024.

Additionally, a coalition of 25 states, including North Carolina, filed an amicus brief on Monday, echoing the senators’ call for the Supreme Court to review the appeal and reject the Fourth Circuit’s opinion.

The Fourth Circuit needs to join the rest of us in rejecting this bankruptcy nonsense to avoid companies with assets paying on valid asbestos and other claims.

January 15, 2024 – Aldrich Pump Bankruptcy

A group of asbestos claimants in North Carolina is seeking permission to appeal a bankruptcy judge’s decision to reject their attempt to dismiss Aldrich Pump’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. They argue that the appeal could quickly resolve both the ongoing bankruptcy case and significant legal issues.

Aldrich Pump filed for Chapter 11 protection in June 2020 due to the asbestos liabilities inherited from Trane Technologies, its parent company, following a complex merger. The asbestos claimants, including an official committee and an independent group, moved to dismiss Aldrich’s bankruptcy case in spring 2023. They claimed the filing was in bad faith, as Aldrich was not financially distressed, and argued that granting bankruptcy protection to a non-distressed company exceeded the court’s constitutional powers. 

As we discussed in our January 2, 2024, update below, a judge dismissed their motions. He went against the recent grain of requiring financial distress as a requirement for filing bankruptcy.  The court leaned into a 1989 Fourth Circuit ruling, a two-pronged test for bankruptcy dismissal involving bad faith and “objective futility.” Judge Whitley noted that Aldrich’s lack of financial distress did not make reorganization futile.

It is in everyone’s best interest to let the 4th Circuit decide how it wants to approach these cases in 2024.

January 10, 2024 – Nash Engineering Bankruptcy

In a case that underscores the challenges faced by asbestos victims when companies restructure assets before bankruptcy, The Nash Engineering Co., a bankrupt Connecticut manufacturer, and its former shareholders are disputing a trustee’s attempt to recover $59.7 million in cash transfers. These transfers, connected to asbestos liabilities and insurance claims, were executed over a decade ago.

Nash Engineering, embroiled in asbestos litigation, filed for bankruptcy in 2021, listing no significant assets beyond insurance coverage while facing claims from nearly 1,700 creditors, primarily related to asbestos injuries. The trustee’s delayed investigation into the bankruptcy and the subsequent lawsuit seeking to recoup the funds highlight the difficulties asbestos victims face in obtaining compensation.

This is particularly evident when companies strategically shift assets to keep more money for themselves by taking money out of the kitty before filing bankruptcy.  It is naïve to think this does not happen all the time.  This Nash Engineering case illustrates the legal complexities and potential injustices involving asbestos-related claims and corporate financial maneuvers.

January 2, 2024 – Aldrich Pump Bankruptcy Upheld

We ended 2023 with a ruling that was very 2022.  In 2023, courts were rejecting Texas Two-Step bankruptcies.  But Judge J. Craig Whitley in North Carolina ended the year upholding Aldrich Pump’s asbestos liability bankruptcy.

The court found that a bankruptcy case can only be dismissed if it is proven to have been filed in bad faith and is objectively futile. The judge found Aldrich Pump’s effort to settle 90,000 asbestos claims via bankruptcy not to be objectively futile.

Hopefully, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals will see it differently.

December 22, 2023 – St. Croix Settlement Plan

A bankrupt subsidiary of global oil and gas company Hess Corp, Honx Inc., has formulated a plan to pay approximately $190 million to resolve hundreds of asbestos claims related to a former refinery in St. Croix.

The plan, part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proposal, aims to settle 910 current claims from workers and their families who allege asbestos exposure at the refinery and future claims through a trust. The arrangement includes an initial $105 million contribution and full equity in a reorganized company for current claimants, with an additional $45 million allocated for potential future claims. This sum will be paid as $25 million upon the plan’s implementation and $20 million five years later.

Furthermore, Hess has agreed to a potential payout of up to $37 million over 25 years, plus $3 million for trust expenses. Our asbestos lawyers believe this new plan will gain the support of attorneys for future asbestos victims. The plan’s progress hinges on the support of 75% of asbestos claimants and judicial approval.

December 19, 2023

It is always frustrating to see a good asbestos verdict overturned for reasons that unlikely impacted the verdict.  This just happened in California when a state court judge overturned a $107 million verdict against Union Carbide, Elementis Chemicals, and E.F. Brady. in a case regarding a man’s death from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure.
This decision was based on findings of jury and attorney misconduct, including a prohibited quotient verdict process used by the jury to set damages and the concealment of bias by a juror during voir dire. Additionally, the judge cited misconduct by the plaintiff’s counsel in eliciting blocked testimony and appealing to the jury’s passion and prejudice.
As for the latter point, the defense lawyers argued that the plaintiffs’ counsel improperly suggested punitive damages were a substitute for jail time, insinuating that Union Carbide had committed a crime. They also accused the plaintiffs’ counsel of attempting to sway the jury by evoking negative associations with companies like Monsanto, Exxon, and Philip Morris and suggesting that a substantial award would impact the boardrooms of similar corporations.
But it was closing argument – you get some slack. And it appears there was no defense objection at the time.  So you have to feel for the plaintiffs who received justice after a long path only to get the verdict flipped. But…the case will be retried, and there is no reason the verdict should be different next time around.

December 15, 2023

A divided Connecticut appeals court reinstated an asbestos tort action, finding evidence indicating that the defendant was aware of the hazards associated with asbestos at its facility but failed to disclose this knowledge while emphasizing the importance of complying with federal regulations to others. The plaintiff alleged that Rogers Corp. downplayed the risks of asbestos exposure, referring to it as “nuisance dust” and claiming that exposure levels remained within federal regulatory limits. The court’s ruling shifted the burden of proof to the plaintiff and also addressed the dissolution status of “Special Electric Co.” (SECO), asserting that SECO’s insurers acted as agents of the company despite its dissolution.

December 5, 2023 – Talc Settlement Talks

The asbestos baby powder cases are a real problem for J&J, and it is now finally trying to resolve these claims.

Bloomberg reports that Johnson & Johnson is actively working to settle asbestos lawsuits alleging that its talc-based Baby Powder causes cancer due to asbestos exposure.

December 3, 2023 – $5.4 Million Verdict Against Shipyard in Louisiana

A Louisiana jury awarded $5,474,934.20 in an asbestos lawsuit against Main Iron Works, a shipyard in Houma, Louisiana. This case, filed in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, involved the late Donald Foret, who succumbed to mesothelioma 18 months after diagnosis. His widow and sons claimed that his mesothelioma was a result of asbestos exposure during his tenure as an insulator at Main Iron Works between 1967 and 1971.

Throughout the trial, which spanned six days, the plaintiffs presented evidence from several experts, including Richard Kradin, a pathology expert from Massachusetts General Hospital; Thomas Selders, a certified industrial hygienist based in Dallas; and Randolph Rice, a forensic economist from Baton Rouge. In defense, Main Iron Works relied on Sheldon Rabinowitz, a certified industrial hygienist and toxicology expert from North Potomac, Maryland who has testified for defendants… a lot. The defense argued that Foret’s mesothelioma could have been caused by exposures unrelated to Main Iron Works, questioned the presence of asbestos in the insulation, and claimed the company was unaware of any potential dangers at the time.

After several hours of deliberation, the jury found Main Iron Works liable on negligence and strict liability grounds. The damages awarded by the jury included $1,140,611.30 each for physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, physical disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. Additionally, $461,288 was allocated for medical expenses and $451,201 for lost earnings, culminating in a total award of over $5.4 million.

November 1, 2023 – $20 Million Verdict Against Ford Upheld

In a recent Missouri appeals court decision, Ford Motor Co.’s appeal of a $20 million asbestos verdict was denied, with the court finding no error in the nine issues raised by the company.

The case involved William “Bill” Trokey, who filed a lawsuit against Ford and 26 other companies, claiming exposure to asbestos through various sources, including third-party brakes on Ford’s automobiles. The jury ruled in favor of Trokey, awarding him $10 million and his wife, Cathy Trokey, $10 million.

After Bill Trokey’s death, Ford argued that his personal injury tort claims abated upon his death, challenging the substitution of Cathy Trokey as the plaintiff. Ford also contested its liability for third-party products installed on its vehicles, stating that Missouri law does not recognize such liability. Additionally, Ford claimed that jury instructions were improper and prejudicial. The appeals court upheld the verdict without issuing a written opinion, affirming the $20 million award.

September 24, 2023 – Asbestos Award Payouts in 2022

Mealey’s documented a total of 17 asbestos-related verdicts in 2022. Asbestos juries rendered verdicts awarding $215,664,905 in damages.

Asbestos lawsuits are said to be dying out. But the statistics say otherwise. These asbestos payouts closely align with the $208 million awarded by juries in 2021.

We do not have statistics on asbestos settlements in 2022 but, anecdotally, they seem to mirror the settlement payouts in 2021.

September 14, 2023 – $38 million verdict in New York

The plaintiff, a 66-year-old immigrant, worked with commercial boilers in the 1970s and 80s and was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017. Out of multiple original defendants, only one manufacturer proceeded to trial.

A jury in Manhattan found a commercial boiler manufacturer 85% responsible for a man’s advanced lung cancer due to asbestos exposure. They awarded the man and his wife compensatory damages, adding $6.5 million in punitive damages. The jury considered the plaintiff 15% liable due to his smoking habits. The defense argued that the cancer could not be from their product because the man smoked and lacked diagnoses typically associated with asbestos exposure.

September 12, 2023 – $40 million verdict in Illinois

An Illinois jury awarded $40.75 million to the family of a man who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos in products made by John Crane Inc. (Case No. 2019-L-012850, Ill. Cir., Cook Co.). The judgment was entered on August 30th. The deceased, who worked as a pump man, was claimed to have contracted the disease due to his job-related asbestos exposure.

After jurisdictional challenges in California and New York, the case was settled in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit was based on negligence-product liability against John Crane Inc.

The company argued that the asbestos exposure from their products was minimal and other sources were more likely the cause.  The jury did not buy it.  They took just 20 minutes to award compensation of $40.75 million. This included $11.2 million for the loss of normal life, $13.5 million for conscious pain and suffering, and $5.25 million for emotional distress. An additional $4 million was awarded for the widow’s loss of services, $3.6 million for loss of society, and $1 million for grief, sorrow, and mental anguish. Another $800,000 was allocated for loss of services, $800,000 for loss of society, and $550,000 for grief, sorrow, and emotional pain for other family members.

September 5, 2023 – Decline in Mesothelioma Rates

A recent study reveals – finally – a decline in mesothelioma rates linked to asbestos exposure, many years after asbestos was largely banned in the United States. Duke researchers found that bans on asbestos use, imposed in 1972, have contributed to the decrease in mesothelioma diagnoses. The study, published in Environmental Research, examined over 600 mesothelioma cases spanning four decades, observing changes in patient demographics and asbestos content in lung tissue. The findings show a shift towards older patients, more women affected, and decreased asbestos-related cases. Notably, the percentage of cases with concurrent asbestosis has significantly decreased over time.

August 4, 2023 – Asbestos Lawsuit Back On

A Florida appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit regarding the mesothelioma death of a woman who was allegedly exposed to asbestos from laundering her mechanic husband’s work clothes. The suit accuses Carlisle Industrial Brake & Friction Inc. of exposing her to asbestos dust through brake linings made for Mack Trucks, which her husband worked on between 1969 and 1993. The First District Court of Appeal reversed a previous summary judgment in favor of Carlisle, with a three-judge panel finding sufficient evidence to establish product identification. The court noted that evidence showed Mack exclusively used Carlisle linings from 1974 to 1979, and deemed it “more likely than not” that the woman was exposed to Carlisle’s products, thus meeting Florida’s legal standard for product identification. The panel further emphasized that the issue of other companies possibly causing the exposure should be left for a jury to determine.

August 2, 2023 – Court Rules Asbestos Case Will Continue

An appellate court in New York recently denied a motion for summary judgment filed by Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). The ruling came in Smith v. Advance Auto Parts, et al. 2023 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 3741 (NY App. July 20, 2023). The plaintiff-decedent, in that case, was allegedly exposed to asbestos at the LILCO Shoreham Nuclear Power Station. The motion claimed that the case was not filed in time under New York’s Tort Claims Act, which creates special notice rules and a shorter statute of limitations for filing lawsuits against state and local government entities.

The plaintiff argue that this New York asbestos lawsuit did not fall under the New York Tort Claims Act because during the time of the decedent’s exposure, LILCO was a private company and not part of the state government. It was only years later that LILCO was acquired by LIPA and became a public entity within the New York state government.

The issue for the court was whether a private company later acquired by a state authority should be covered by the special SOL and notice requirements for state and local government entities. The court held that LILCO was not entitled to the protection of the New York Tort Claims Act in a lawsuit that is based on alleged conduct that occurred when LILCO was a private company.

July 26, 2023 – Hiding Behind Bankruptcy Law

Paper products maker Georgia Pacific is asking the Fourth Circuit not to proceed with an en banc review of a ruling that supports a bankruptcy stay of asbestos litigation against the parent company. It argues that the earlier decision aligns with court precedent, and the district court was justified in its authority to pause the legal proceedings.

It is frustrating how these companies use bankruptcy to avoid responsibility.

July 13, 2023 – $107 Million Verdict

The family of a 45-year-old janitor, who succumbed to mesothelioma, was awarded $107 million by a California jury yesterday. Union Carbide was found to have acted with malice, while Elementis Chemicals and E. F. Brady Co. Inc. were found negligent.

July 7, 2023 – New FDA Regulation

The EPA has issued a final regulation taking a swing at asbestos that comes into the country. The new rule requires manufacturers, importers, and processors of asbestos or asbestos-containing products to disclose their volume and other relevant information. The regulation is intended to bridge data gaps and identify products containing various types of asbestos. Despite the U.S. halting asbestos mining in 2002, small amounts continue to enter the country through imported products.

June 12, 2023 – $40 Million in Punitive Damages Sought After Verdict

In a Connecticut asbestos case, a plaintiff who was awarded $20 million is requesting the imposition of $40 million in punitive damages.

The plaintiff argues that a successor talc company should be held liable as it continued the same reckless conduct after acquiring its predecessor. The case involves a lawsuit filed by Kathleen Peckham in Bridgeport at Fairfield Judicial District Superior Court, alleging that her husband died from injuries resulting from asbestos exposure when he used DAP Inc.’s DAP 33 window glaze in the 1960s. The jury found the defendants liable and awarded Peckham $20 million, apportioning 50% of the liability to each defendant.

We now turn to punitive damages. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants actively concealed the presence of asbestos in its talc and took precautions to mine talc from areas without asbestos when federal agencies conducted inspections.  If true, could there be a better argument for punitive damages?

May 26, 2023 – Hess to Pay Over $100 Million to Asbestos Victims

Hess has agreed to pay $106 million to settle asbestos injury claims related to its bankrupt unit HONX Inc.’s oil refinery. Under the Chapter 11 reorganization plan filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, HONX and the oil and gas company will establish a trust to evaluate and compensate more than 900 outstanding asbestos claims.

In return, they will be protected from further legal action regarding the alleged toxic material. HONX has faced 911 claims related to asbestos exposure at its former Limetree Bay oil refinery in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, between 1965 and 1998.  The reorganization plan includes a fund of $106 million, with $90 million allocated for existing claimants, $15 million for future claims, and additional funding if necessary.

May 25, 2023 – Asbestos Lawsuit to Continue in Delaware

The Delaware Supreme Court has rejected a motion for an immediate appeal in a case involving an asbestos lawsuit. Hennessy Industries sought summary judgment, arguing that it had no duty to warn the plaintiff because it did not manufacture, supply, or install any asbestos-containing products. The judge ruled that there is a duty on manufacturers in cases where they explicitly specified or recommended the third-party part involved. The company then sought an immediate appeal, contending that the issues addressed in the rulings were of substantial importance. But the Delaware Supreme Court rejected this request.

May 24, 2023 – $33.75 Million Verdict Affirms

The Louisiana Appeals Court upheld a $35.75 million verdict in favor of a man who suffered from asbestos-related mesothelioma, which he attributed to his work as a pipe fitter and welder at various industrial facilities. The court rejected the defendant’s appeal, asserting that there was no abuse of the jury’s discretion in awarding the damages. Additionally, the court noted that the damages align with current economic conditions, particularly the rising inflation.

The defendant, Level 3 Holdings, had been held responsible for over $19 million of the total judgment post-trial. The court also dismissed Level 3’s claim that it should only be assigned a minor share of liability, asserting that all joint tortfeasors are equally accountable for the injury in pre-comparative fault cases in Louisiana. Despite some disputes regarding strict liability and witness testimony, the court found no substantial errors that would affect the jury’s verdict.

May 17, 2023 – St. Louis Asbestos Lawsuit to Remain in Federal Court

The relatives of a man who died from an alleged asbestos-induced lung cancer lost their appeal to shift their case against Raytheon Technologies Corporation back to state court from federal court.

The family of a deceased St. Louis police officer and Naval officer filed a lawsuit in January against several companies and defense contractors. They alleged that their loved one was exposed to asbestos during his tenure in the Navy and various other jobs from 1956 to 2020. The asbestos lawsuit says that helicopters the man worked with, specifically the Raytheon products on these helicopters during his time with the St. Louis County Police’s Helicopter Unit, contained asbestos.

In February, Raytheon moved the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  The argument to keep the lawsuit in state court was that Raytheon failed to establish that it was operating under the direction of a federal officer and didn’t possess a defensible case.

Raytheon responded by arguing that the case falls within the purview of federal officer jurisdiction because the only product the deceased could have come into contact with was an engine that they built under military instruction.  The judge sided with Raytheon, rejecting the family’s lawyer’s contention that because the man was exposed to asbestos while serving with the St. Louis County Police, Raytheon wasn’t operating under a federal officer.

May 16, 2023 – Asbestos Defendants Seek Reduction of $25 Million Verdict

John Crane’s asbestos lawyers asked a judge earlier this month to reduce a $25 million asbestos verdict, issued against it and other involved companies, arguing that the total amount was overly excessive. This verdict was part of a lawsuit filed by a Navy veteran suffering from asbestosis.

The lawsuit originated in 2019 when the veteran sued several companies, including John Crane Inc. He claimed that his asbestosis was caused by exposure to asbestos-containing products during his tenure in the Navy and his subsequent employment at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

He also alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while undertaking car repairs and home maintenance tasks. The jury reached its verdict against Crane and the other accused companies on December 22, 2022. The plaintiff was awarded $15 million in damages for his asbestosis claim, with the remaining $10 million attributed to his wife’s loss of consortium claim.

The argument the defendant’s asbestos lawyers made is funny.  They pointed out that it was seven times larger than the highest asbestosis verdict claimed by the plaintiff’s legal team on their website, as if this is somehow a marker for what is a reasonable verdict in this case. 

Defense counsel also contested the diagnosis of asbestosis, suggesting that the plaintiff’s breathing difficulties could have been caused by other health complications. They highlighted his smoking history and other ailments, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and diabetes. These are all, of course, arguments that the jury heard and rejected. 

May 15, 2023 – New Research Could Advance Asbestos Detoxification Methods

A new study published today demonstrates that certain bacteria from high-temperature marine environments could help reduce the toxicity of asbestos.

The article, published in the American Society for Microbiology, is the first research of its kind. The study focuses on a thermophilic bacterium that can extract iron from asbestos minerals through a process known as anaerobic respiration. As iron is a major factor driving the toxicity of asbestos minerals, its removal could decrease their harmful properties.

Moreover, the research found that the bacterium could mediate the transfer of electrical charge within the iron contained in asbestos without altering its mineral structure. This process could potentially enhance asbestos’s electrical conductivity. Thus, the bacteria could be used to treat the toxicity of asbestos through iron removal, or the increased electrical conductivity of the treated asbestos might enable it to be repurposed.

This innovative research showed that bacteria could be used to extract iron, silicon, and/or magnesium from asbestos, thus offering a superior method of asbestos detoxification compared to other biological methods. However, further research is required to optimize these treatments and to explore the potential for detoxifying and possibly reusing asbestos as secondary raw materials.

April 17, 2023 – Asbestos School Closing in Philadelphia

A sixth school in Philadelphia, Universal Vare Charter, has temporarily closed due to discovered asbestos damage. The extent of the asbestos issue and the school’s reopening date are yet to be determined. The closure has complicated matters as students are in the midst of standardized testing. Consequently, students will be transported to a different school to take their exams, and other classes will be conducted virtually. The closure and asbestos abatement follows a series of similar incidents in other schools across the district, with ongoing investigations into decades-long mischaracterizations of asbestos safety in these institutions.

April 5, 2023 – EPA Proposes Banning All Use of Asbestos

This week, the EPA formally proposed new regulations that would effectively ban nearly all permissible uses of asbestos in the U.S. Virtually all commercial use and product of asbestos in the U.S. ended decades ago due to the known health risks of asbestos, but asbestos was never outright banned.

In 1989, the EPA attempted to fully ban the use of asbestos in the U.S., the federal appeals court struck down those regulations 2 years because they exceeded the agency’s authority under the prior version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Now, however, the TSCA has been amended to give the EPA more power and the proposed ban on asbestos is one of the agency’s first efforts to flex that regulatory muscle.

March 25, 2023 – $15 Million New York Verdict Upheld

The New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) court rejected Kaiser Gypsum’s post-trial appeals following a verdict that saw the plaintiffs awarded a sum of $15 million. Kaiser Gypsum sought: 1) a judgment contrary to the verdict; 2) an order for a retrial; or, 3) a reduction of what they deemed an excessively high verdict. They were all rejected.

March 14, 2023 – Washington Mesothelioma Verdict Upheld on Appeal

The Washington Court of Appeals upheld yesterday a significant $16.67 million asbestos verdict. This case is associated with the widow of a former employee of a Camas paper mill. The employee succumbed to mesothelioma in 2021 due to asbestos exposure from “dryer felts” sold by a specific company.

Dryer felts, which resemble absorbent conveyor belts, transport large wet paper sheets through heated rollers for drying, marking the last step in paper manufacturing. The deceased worked on the mill’s paper machine cleanup crew, which frequently involved cleaning these dryer felts using compressed air.

Following his death in 2021, the widow hired an attorney who filed an asbestos lawsuit.  The family’s asbestos lawsuit alleged that the defendant company did not test its products for asbestos release, issue warnings, or label its products concerning asbestos content. After a four-week trial, the jury issued its award.The appellate court’s decision noted that the family’s lawyers presented more than sufficient evidence for a jury to decide that there was asbestos exposure, both from direct contact and “bystander exposure.”

Furthermore, expert testimony established that the deceased was exposed to asbestos from the company’s products even when not working specifically with them. So the three-judge panel concluded that there was enough evidence to prove that the exposure was a substantial factor in the development of mesothelioma. The panel concluded that the “presented sufficient evidence to prove his exposure to asbestos from Scapa’s asbestos-containing dryer felts and that the exposure was a substantial factor to his development of mesothelioma….”

March 12, 2023 – $20 Million Verdict for Mesothelioma from 4-Month Exposure

A Connecticut jury has ordered a minerals company based in Norwalk and a national sealant manufacturer to pay $20 million to the widow of a man who succumbed to asbestos contamination in 2020. The six-week asbestos trial culminated in the jury’s verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.

The decedent, a 76-year-old man, had been working for a former company in Woodstock, Connecticut, in the early 1960s when he was tasked with replacing the factory building’s window. Over a four-month span, he was required to replace numerous individual window panes, chiseling out the asbestos-contaminated sealant and glaze between each pane. These materials, sold by the sealant manufacturer and made up of materials manufactured by the minerals company, were the subject of the lawsuit. The man was diagnosed with mesothelioma and passed away 11 months later. His widow hired an asbestos lawyer to bring a lawsuit against the companies.

February 22, 2023 – New Study Links Gene Mutation to Mesothelioma Risk

A new study by a research team from Nagoya University in Japan has definitely linked the BRCA1 mutation to an increased risk of developing mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos. The BRCA1 mutation is found in approximately 1 out of every 500 people. The research study used a rat testing model to show that individuals who have this gene mutation are much more likely to develop mesothelioma if they are exposed to airborne asbestos particles compared to those without the mututation.

January 10, 2023 – Employer Has an Obligation

Thhe Superior Court of Pennsylvania ruled that employers must protect employees from known as well as foreseeable risks. The case revolved around an employee exposed to asbestos during the 1970s and 1980s, leading to a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis in 2017, and his subsequent death in 2019.

The employee’s estate sued the employer, Kreider Farms, for negligence in failing to warn and protect him from asbestos hazards. The employer argued that they were unaware of asbestos dangers at the time and were only obligated to protect employees from known risks. Initially, the trial court sided with the employer.

However, on appeal, the Superior Court ruled in favor of the employee’s estate. The Court held that employers must take into account general scientific discoveries, make efforts to uncover facts indicating danger to employees, and act accordingly when such hazards are discovered.

The Court found that the trial court had made a mistake by only considering whether the employer had actual knowledge of asbestos risks. Instead, the court determined that a jury could have concluded that the employer should have known about the dangers based on expert reports, medical journals, and state department publications presented by the appellant.

November 22, 2022 – $5.75 Million Verdict Against Volkswagen for Asbestos Wrongful Death

After a 2 week trial, a jury in Spokane, Washington awarded $5,750,000 in damages in an asbestos lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America for the wrongful death of a former automatic mechanic, Thomas Sorrentino. Mr. Sorrentino contracted mesothelioma in November 2020 arising from his exposure to asbestos as an automotive mechanic at United Volkswagen in Spokane, Washington. He was exposed to asbestos when he ground brakes on an arc grinder, blew out brake drums, and cleaned up the shop from 1972-1975. The lawsuit alleged that Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen AG failed to warn Mr. Sorrentino of the hazards of asbestos.

November 14, 2022 – Honeywell Will Pay $1.3 Billion to Asbestos Claims Trust Fund

Honeywell International has been a major defendant in asbestos lawsuits recently. From 1979 to 1986, Honeywell owned a subsidiary called North American Refractories Company (NARCO). At one point, NARCO was the biggest manufacturer of heat-resistant products. As a result, NARCO was overwhelmed with asbestos liabilities and in 2002 the company was forced into bankruptcy.

As a result of the NARCO bankruptcy, Honeywell was tagged with liability for future asbestos liabilities related to those asbestos products which NARCO manufactured for use in Honeywell products. To address these liabilities, a settlement trust fund called the North American Refractories Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust (NARCO Trust) was created in 2013. The trust is funded by Honeywell and it is tasked with paying settlement compensation to claimants.

Recently, however, bitter legal disputes have arisen between Honeywell and the NARCO Trust over how much the trust was paying out on claims. Since the trust was established, Honeywell has periodically paid money into the trust to keep it funded. Those periodic funding obligations were supposed to continue for a long time under court supervision.

Earlier this month, however, Honeywell announced that it had reached an agreement with the NARCO Trust by which Honeywell would make a final one-time payment of $1.3 billion to finally resolve its obligations to fund the trust. The $1.3 billion would effectively buy Honeywell out of its future obligations to the trust. The agreement must first be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

July 21, 2022 – $15 Million Verdict to Drywall Installer

A New York jury awarded $15 million to the family of a drywall installer. Throughout his career as a construction worker in New York and New Jersey from the 1960s to the 1980s, the man consistently encountered asbestos. His work involved mixing a powdery joint compound with water and applying it to drywall. In compliance with the manufacturer’s guidelines, he sanded the product to attain a smooth finish, which unfortunately led to the creation of substantial dust laden with asbestos.

Among the 11 entities his family blamed for his mesothelioma, Kaiser Gypsum was the final defendant in the trial.  Everyone else offered reasonable settlement amounts or were dismissed from the case. The jury concluded that Kaiser Gypsum was 70% responsible for his suffering and awarded his family $15 million.

May 25, 2022 – $7.2 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Against U.S. Steel

In this wrongful death case, the decedent, 62-year-old male James O’Reilly, died due to pleural mesothelioma, allegedly from asbestos exposure while working for decades as a union pipefitter at various industrial facilities for over twenty years, one employer being defendant United States Steel Corporation, and one manufacturer, Fisher Controls International, which manufactured valves used at U.S. Steel. After a 14-day trial, a jury in Chicago, Illinois found that the plaintiffs had proven their claims against U.S. Steel and awarded $7.2 million.

Get an Asbestos Lawyer for Your Mesothelioma Lawsuit

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and want to get fair compensation in a settlement or jury payout, contact our asbestos lawyers today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation

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