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Mesothelioma & Asbestos News Updates

 

 

Sheffield Residents Fear Asbestos Exposure as Illicit Dumping Increases

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Residents of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England, fear being exposed to asbestos as people continue to illegally dump asbestos-containing debris in the streets. According to the article, “waste containing asbestos sparked safety fears after it was left lying in a Sheffield street for almost two weeks.” Resident Joyce Townsend stated, “I naively though they’d come and take it away that day because it is so dangerous. It is a potential danger to children who play near there.”  Staff Report, The Star News – UK  10/03/2012
Read Article: The Star News – UK    

Three Tennessee Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Exposing Residents to Asbestos
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Three men of Chattanooga, Tenn. were charged and sentenced for negligently demolishing an old textile mill that contained asbestos, exposing nearby residents. According to the article, “between August 2004 and December 2005, demolition created asbestos-containing dust then blew throughout the area of 17th Street between Watkins and Dodds avenues, across the street from residential housing and near a day care center.”  Pam Sohn & Todd Smith, Chattanooga Times Free Press  10/02/2012
Read Article: Chattanooga Times Free Press    

New York School Faces Unexpected Asbestos Abatement Costs
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Indian Lake Central School of Indian Lake, Ny. faces unexpected asbestos abatement costs during their renovation. According to Mari Cecil of Bernier Carr Group, “the estimated costs to mitigate and clean up the surprise asbestos discoveries in a number of areas of the school would cost about $200,000.” The school board has decided to pass “an emergency resolution for funding not to exceed $100,000.” They plan to abate the two areas within the school that are used frequently and seal off the other areas until funds are gathered to finish the process.  Bill Quinlivan, Denton Publications, Inc.  10/02/2012
Read Article: Denton Publications, Inc

Federal Judge Reverses Decision to Dismiss 1600 Asbestos Cases

In the asbestos MDL, Judge Robreno dismissed over 1,600 asbestos cases on August 7, 2012. Thereafter a motion to have those dismissals vacated was filed .  Today, Judge Robreno held a hearing on our Motion to Vacate.  John Herrick and Nate Finch argued the matter on behalf of the Plaintiffs.  The hearing lasted about an hour and a half. In an unusual move, Judge Robreno ruled from the bench.  We are happy to report that Judge Robreno vacated the dismissal of the over 1,600 MARDOC cases. Great Work by these fine lawyers to give these clients justice back.

 

 

Important Decision Goes Against Ford

An important decision regarding Ford liability was  issued by Judge Hanna in Ohio. First, Ford has been playing games by attacking the authenticity of company documents submitted in opposition to summary judgment motions. Judge Hanna finds that all the exhibits submitted in opposition to our MSJ were supported by evidence supporting an inference of authenticity. . Second, Judge Hanna found that the evidence supported a triable issue of fact as to Ford’s “continued use of a braking system that required replacements brakes to include asbestos.” Thus, the court found that the product that Ford is responsible for is not only the OEM brakes and the replacement brakes it sold, but also Ford’s “braking system” that required the use of asbestos. Congratulations to Wayne Margolis and Chip Hickey who secured this victory

 

.IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO

ASBESTOS DOCKET

OPINION

JUDGE HARRY A. HANNA

Bettie Jane Raniolo, ct aI.,

Plaintiff,

v.

American Laundry Machinery,

Inc., ct aI.,

Defendants.

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

Case No: 752429

The Court has reviewed Plaintiffs Exhibits A through S filed in opposition to

Defendant Ford Motor Company’s motion for summary judgment. It appears that these

exhibits bear sufficient evidence of authenticity to be admissible in opposition to a Rule

56 motion. They consist of excerpts from depositions or discovery responses filed in the

state courts of Califomia, Delaware, Maryland, New York and Texas by lawyers

purporting to represent Ford, along with govemment documents and other documents on

Ford Motor Company stationary.

These documents viewed in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, would permit the

inference of some awareness on Ford’s part of the hazards of asbestos, the uncertainty of

that hazard, an insistence on continuing to use asbestos in its brakes into the 1990′s eer.

Ex F.), and continued use ora braking system that required replacement brakes to include

asbestos.

The motion for summary judgment is overruled.

So Ordered:

Judge Harry A. Hanna

Asbestos Industry Denied Autopsy of Mesothelioma Patient

There has been a recent trend in asbestos litigation for the nasty defendants to request an autopsy from a terminally Ill plaintiff . Disgusting intimidation. So far the tactics have not worked. Last year a NJ judge denied a motion to actually exhume a body. Another story appears below.

 

ST. LOUIS (CN) – An asbestos defendant cannot reserve the right to autopsy its terminally ill opponent, a judge ruled, setting a precedent in Missouri and perhaps nationwide.

Roy Duncan says asbestos exposure caused him to develop mesothelioma, an especially deadly form of lung cancer.

Noting that Duncan could die before trial, Reicchold Inc., one of the companies Duncan has sued, asked the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court to let it conduct a “postmortem biopsy” to preserve 5 grams of Duncan's lung tissue for testing.

Duncan's attorneys with Simmons Browder Gianaris argued that there is no legal precedent for such an order and that autopsy decisions belong to the deceased's family.

Judge Bryan Hettenbach sided with Duncan, finding that the biopsy is still an autopsy.

Autopsies involve public policy issues and issues involving property rights to the body of the deceased, according to the ruling.

Reicchold also failed to specify whom its proposed autopsy order would target, and what it would say, the judge found.

An order directed to Duncan is problematic because Duncan is not deceased. Conversely, an order directed to Duncan's personal representative is problematic because the representative does not have property rights to Duncan's body until after his death.

“Finally, the balance of the scientific arguments made by both parties make it appear unlikely that the results of the testing of the autopsy lung tissue would be conclusive as to defendant's liability on plaintiffs' claims in this case,” Hettenbach wrote. “Moreover, even if one accepts that more information is generally better than less, it appears less than certain that the test results here would even be probative.”

Simmons Browder Gianaris shareholder Ted Gianaris said Reicchold had tried to prove that it used “safe asbestos” or that there was no asbestos at all in Duncan's lungs.

Asbestos defendants routinely try to claim that they use “safe asbestos,” when in reality all asbestos causes mesothelioma, Gianaris said.

“The defense's argument distracted from the actual issue in this case: Mr. Duncan was poisoned by asbestos exposure decades ago, not by what might be in his lungs today,” Gianaris told Courthouse News. “The court seemed to recognize the autopsy was not going to provide probative evidence and was likely a red herring.”

Hettenbach's ruling sets precedent for such motions in Missouri. Gianaris believes asbestos defendants will continue to make such requests in cases throughout the country, but hopes Hettenbach's decision will influence how other courts rule on the matter.

“Mr. Duncan is alive and fighting the terminal disease mesothelioma,” Gianaris told Courthouse News. “He should get his day in court this fall. The judge's ruling gives his family peace of mind that they will not be ordered to do something against their will down the road. … We think this order ends the argument.”

 

Lake Asbestos Announces Bankruptcy Payments

The bankruptcy trust for former asbestos producer Lake Asbestos has announced its list of approved sites for payment of bankruptcy claims. The following is a list of approved sites.

Site Code Customer Name City State Year(s) of Sales
ASR0001 Abex Chicago IL 1974-1976
ASR0003 Abex Salisbury NC 1976-1982
ASR0002 Abex Mahwah NJ 1960; 1970-1971; 1974
ASR0004 Abex Winchester VA 1959-1982; 1984-1985
ASR0005 Abitibi Corp Troy MI 1974
ASR0006 Adheron Coatings Oak Forest IL 1981
ASR0007 Alcatraz Co.. Richmond VA 1959-1960; 1963; 1965-1966; 1975; 1980-1985 
ASR0008 Algoma Hardwoods (formerly US Plywood) Algoma WI 1973-1979
ASR0010 Allied Automotive Troy NY 1984-1985
ASR0009 Allied Automotive Cleveland TN 1984-1985
ASR0013 Allied Chemical Ensley AL 1964-1968
ASR0012 Allied Chemical Baton Rouge LA 1974-1975
ASR0014 Allied Chemical Solway  NY 1974
ASR0011 Allied Chemical Philadelphia PA 1960-1961; 1964
ASR0015 Allied Construction Dallas TX 1975-1976
ASR0016 Aluminum Coating Cleveland OH 1976-1983; 1985
ASR0017 AMAC Corp. Brookfield CT 1980
ASR0018 Amercon Buffalo NY 1974; 1977
ASR0019 American Asbestos Textile Co. Norristown PA 1959-1960; 1969; 1974-1975
ASR0020 American Biltrite Trenton NJ 1980
ASR0021 American Bitumals and Asphalt Co. Blakely AL 1962-1964
ASR0022 American Bitumals and Asphalt Co. Oakland CA 1960-1964
ASR0023 American Lubricants Co. Dayton OH 1959
ASR0024 American Seal Troy NY 1971; 1972; 1974-1983; 1985
ASR0025 Amsco Solvents & Chemicals Cincinnati OH 1959
ASR0026 Anchor Coating. Wakashaw WI 1976
ASR0029 Armstrong Cork Kankakee IL 1978
ASR0028 Armstrong Cork Jackson MS 1978
ASR0027 Armstrong Cork Beaver Falls PA 1965-1967
ASR0030 Armstrong Cork (Armstrong World Industries) Fulton NY 1974-1985
ASR0032 Armstrong Cork (Armstrong World Industries) Oswego NY 1959-1978
ASR0031 Armstrong Cork (Armstrong World Industries) Lancaster PA 1963; 1976-1979
ASR0033 Armstrong Cork, R&D Center Lancaster PA 1960
ASR0034 Arthur C. Mangels Ind. Phoenixville PA 1959; 1960
ASR0035 Asbestos Mfg. Co. Huntington IN 1959
ASR0036 Asbestos Textile Brookfield MA 1981; 1982
ASR0037 Asphalt Products Long Beach CA 1985
ASR0038 Asphalt Products Pittsburgh PA 1984
ASR0039 Asphalt Products Oil Corp. Berkeley CA 1985
ASR0040 Assoc. Asbestos & Cork Co. Seattle WA 1959
ASR0041 Assoc. Asbestos & Cork Co. Spokane WA 1959
ASR0042 Asten Hill Mfg. Philadelphia PA 1959
ASR0043 Atlantic Asbestos Upper Red Hook NY 1973-1976; 1979
ASR0044 Atlantic Tubing Cranston RI 1974
ASR0045 Auto Friction Lawrence MA 1971; 1972; 1985
ASR0046 Auto Specialties Saint Joseph MI 1963; 1964; remove 1965
ASR0047 Banner Supply Miami FL 1967
ASR0048 BASF Wyandotte LA 1974; 1976
ASR0049 Bay State Abrasives Co. Westboro MA 1963-1968; 1970; 1972; 1973
ASR0050 Bear Paint Grand Rapids MI 1977-1982; 1985
ASR0051 Bellknap Moran & Allen Brooklyn NY 1959-1966; 1975; 1977; 1979
ASR0053 Bendix Corp. Troy NY 1966; 1969; 1971-75; 1980; 1981; 
ASR0052 Bendix Corp. Cleveland TN 1967-1983.
ASR0054 Benson & Hansen Brooklyn NY 1959; 1960; 1964-1968; 1970-1972; 1979-1983; 1985
ASR0055 Bidco Sealants St. Louis MO 1978; 1981; 1982; 1983
ASR0056 Bird & Son East Walpole MA 1959
ASR0057 Birma Prod. Corp. Greenfield IN 1962-1964
ASR0058 Bituminous Minerals Terre Haute IN 1977
ASR0059 Black Top Secaucus NJ 1974; 1975
ASR0060 Blue Ridge Talc Henry VA 1970-1978
ASR0061 Boise Cascade Beaver Falls NY 1978-1983; 1985
ASR0062 Bonded Products West Chester PA 1975-1977
ASR0063 Brassbestos Paterson NJ 1974-1977; 1980-1983
ASR0064 Braun Knecht Heimann & Co. Denver CO 1959
ASR0065 Bridgeport Chemical Farmingdale NY 1965-1967
ASR0066 Brower & Co. Seattle WA 1959
ASR0067 Brown Co. Berlin NH 1970; 1972-1974
ASR0068 Burnside Co. East Hartford CT 1960
ASR0069 Byrnes Conways Co. Cincinnati OH 1960
ASR0070 California Portland Cement Colton CA 1962-1967; 1970; 1971
ASR0071 Camco Tappahannock VA 1974
ASR0072 Camden Paint Mfg. Haddonfield NJ 1964; 1965
ASR0073 Carolina Asbestos Corp. Davidson NC 1959
ASR0074 Carpenter Morton. Everett MA 1962
ASR0077 Celotex Corp. L’Anse MI 1966-1973
ASR0075 Celotex Corp. Linden NJ 1978; 1979
ASR0076 Celotex Corp. Edgewater NY 1969
ASR0078 Celotex Corp. Philadelphia PA 1978
ASR0079 Cement Asbestos Products Ragland AL 1964-1982
ASR0080 Cement Asbestos Products Van Buren AR 1970-1983; 1984;1985
ASR0081 Cement Industries Fort Myers FL 1974
ASR0082 Century Industries New Waterford OH 1976-1978; 1983; 1985
ASR0083 Certainteed Products Kansas City MO 1961
ASR0084 Certified Brake Danville KY 1979-1983; 1985
ASR0085 Champion Products Kalamazoo MI 1973
ASR0086 Chemical Materials Cleveland OH 1973
ASR0087 Chemical Sealing Corp. Kansas City MO 1960; 1962; 1963
ASR0088 Chesapeake Asphalt Products Baltimore MD 1959-1970
ASR0089 Colonial Refining Chemicals Cleveland OH 1965; 1977-1979
ASR0090 Columbia Paint Huntington WV 1985
ASR0091 Congoleum Industries Cedarhurst/Finksburg MD 1961-1966; 1969-1983
ASR0092 Contact Paint & Chemical Baltimore MD 1976; 1978; 1979
ASR0093 Continental Chemicals Woburn MA 1972; 1979
ASR0094 Convent Chemical Convent LA 1982; 1983
ASR0095 Cooper Asphalt (includes Myers Drum) Tucson AZ 1967-1971; 1973-1981; 1983
ASR0096 Dad & Lad New Lennox IL 1960
ASR0097 Daly Protective Coating. Hammond  IN 1977-1981
ASR0098 DAP Baltimore MD 1977
ASR0099 Daubert Chemical Chicago IL 1965; 1975-1977
ASR0100 Delco Moraine Dayton OH 1973
ASR0101 Dewey & Almy Cambridge MA 1963
ASR0102 Dewitt Products Co. Detroit MI 1977; 1978
ASR0103 Domler Industries Tucson AZ 1966
ASR0104 Dow Chemical Baton Rouge LA 1975
ASR0105 Electro Chemicals Emmaus PA 1974; 1975; 1977-1979; 1981-1983
ASR0106 Elixir Ind. Elkhart IN 1984
ASR0107 Empire Ace Brooklyn NY 1982; 1983
ASR0108 Emulsified Asphalt Chicago IL 1978; 1979
ASR0109 Essex Industries Lawrence MA 1971
ASR0110 Fabricon Products Grayhill IN 1965
ASR0111 Felt Products Skokie IL 1977; 1978
ASR0112 Fibreboard Paper Products Emeryville CA 1960; 1962
ASR0113 Fibreboard Paper Products Redwood City CA 1959-1962
ASR0114 Fibreboard Paper Products Southgate CA 1959
ASR0118 Flintkote Co. Vernon CA 1975-1982
ASR0116 Flintkote Co. Chicago IL 1974-1980
ASR0117 Flintkote Co. New Orleans LA 1974; 1976; 1977; 1978
ASR0115 Flintkote Co. East Rutherford NJ 1973-1978
ASR0119 FMC Corp. Charleston WV 1977
ASR0120 Ford Motor Co. Ypsilanti MI 1966
ASR0121 Foseco Cleveland OH 1967; 1974
ASR0122 Frank & Enderle Co. Los Angeles CA 1960; 1961
ASR0133 GAF (Ruberoid) Mobile AL 1958-1967; 1976-1978 
ASR0129 GAF (Ruberoid) Joliet IL 1959-1962; 1966; 1976; 1978; 1979; 1980
ASR0131 GAF (Ruberoid) Millis MA 1959-1963
ASR0123 GAF (Ruberoid) Baltimore MD 1959-1961
ASR0132 GAF (Ruberoid) Minneapolis MN 1959-1963
ASR0130 GAF (Ruberoid) Kansas City MO 1959-1961; 1977-1979
ASR0135 GAF (Ruberoid) St. Louis MO 1952; 1958-1963; 1965-1978; 1980
ASR0127 GAF (Ruberoid) Gloucester NJ 1954; 1955; 1971
ASR0134 GAF (Ruberoid) South Bound Brook NJ 1952-1953; 1955; 1958-1978
ASR0125 GAF (Ruberoid) Erie PA 1959-1981
ASR0126 GAF (Ruberoid) Fullerton PA 1971-1982
ASR0124 GAF (Ruberoid) Dallas  TX 1959; 1961; 1963
ASR0128 GAF (Ruberoid) Houston TX 1960
ASR0136 Gardner Asphalt Kearny NJ 1982
ASR0138 Gardner Martin Asphalt Springville AL 1981; 1982
ASR0139 Gardner Martin Asphalt Tampa FL 1964-1968; 1973-1982
ASR0137 Gardner Martin Asphalt Chicago IL 1981; 1982
ASR0140 Gardner Martin Asphalt Winston Salem NC 1982
ASR0141 Garfeld Mfg. Co Garfield/Wallington NJ 1978; 1979; 1982; 1983
ASR0142 Garlock Packing Co. Palmyra NY 1959-1985
ASR0143 Gates Engineering Co. Wilmington DE 1960-1968; 1970-1972
ASR0144 Gatke Corp. Warsaw IN 1979-1984
ASR0145 General Latex & Chemical Corp. Cambridge MA 1958
ASR0146 General Tire Co.  Akron OH 1981
ASR0148 Gibson Homans Co. Des Moines IA 1982
ASR0150 Gibson Homans Co. Mattawan NJ 1978
ASR0147 Gibson Homans Co. Cleveland (Twinsburg) OH 1962; 1963; 1965; 1966; 1974; 1977-1981
ASR0149 Gibson Homans Co. Ennis TX 1981; 1985
ASR0151 Gilsonite Portland OR 1974
ASR0152 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Akron OH 1959-1967; 1969-1972
ASR0153 Green Tweed North Wales PA 1966; 1977
ASR0154 Griffin Wheel West Chicago IL 1978-1983
ASR0155 Grizzly Mfg. Co. Paulding OH 1959
ASR0156 GTE Sylvania Parkersburg WV 1978
ASR0158 Guardian Corp. Danbury CT 1982; 1985
ASR0157 Guardian Corp. Allston MA 1980-1983-1985
ASR0159 Gulf States Asphalt Co. Houston TX 1976-1983-1985
ASR0161 H. K. Porter Huntington IN 1960; 1973; 1979
ASR0160 H. K. Porter Charlotte NC 1955; 1957-1960; 1964; 1966; 1973-1978
ASR0162 H. K. Porter (Thermoid Div.) Richmond KY 1968; 1976
ASR0163 H. K. Porter (Thermoid Div.) Trenton NJ 1959-1966
ASR0164 H. Krasne & Co. Los Angeles CA 1961; 1963; 1964; 1978; 1980-1983; 1985
ASR0165 H. L. Blachford Detroit MI 1963
ASR0166 Harold Chemical Products Danvers MA 1965; 1966; 1969
ASR0167 Hayes Albion Johnson City TN 1975
ASR0168 Hollingsworth Vose East Walpole MA 1975; 1976; 1982- 1985
ASR0169 Holroyd Kalamazoo MI 1977; 1978
ASR0170 Humphrigs Hansen Milwaukee WI 1978
ASR0171 IM-CO Edgewater FL 1976; 1978; 1985
ASR0172 Inland Mfg. Dayton OH 1963-1973; 1976-1983
ASR0173 Inmont St. Louis MO 1973-1978
ASR0174 Insulmastic. Summit IL 1959
ASR0175 Inter-Coastal Paint Corp. Baltimore MD 1974
ASR0176 International Paper Co. Union NJ 1974
ASR0177 Intl. Building New Orleans LA 1981; 1982; 1983
ASR0178 Island Insulation Chicago IL 1960
ASR0179 J&P Petroleum Products Lewisville AR 1976; 1977
ASR0180 J.R. Industries Gardena CA 1981
ASR0181 Jaye Mfg. Co. Miami FL 1965-1969
ASR0186 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Stockton CA 1958; 1964; 1984-1986
ASR0187 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Watson CA 1958
ASR0188 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Waukeegan IL 1958-1960; 1964
ASR0184 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Marrero LA 1958
ASR0182 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Denison TX 1965; 1983-1985
ASR0185 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp. Reddam TX 1958
ASR0183 Johns-Manville Prod. Corp.  Manville  NJ 1958-1960; 1962-1964; 1974
ASR0189 Johns-Manville Research Manville  NJ 1974
ASR0190 Karnak Chemical Clark NJ 1963-1965; 1968; 1970-1983; 1985
ASR0191 Kent Industries Detroit MI 1963
ASR0192 Kentile Brooklyn NY 1974
ASR0193 Koltar. N. Abington MA 1982; 1983; 1985
ASR0194 Koppers Co. Fontana CA 1979
ASR0195 Koppers Co. Westfield NJ 1976-1978; 1980-1982
ASR0196 L. Sonneborn & Son Belleville NJ 1959
ASR0197 L. Sonneborn & Son Nutley NJ 1959
ASR0198 L.E. Sonnenburgs Triple Wear Roof Los Angeles CA 1967
ASR0199 L.J. Miley Co. North Manchester IN 1959
ASR0200 La Habra Stucco Co. Los Angeles (Ontario) CA 1959; 1960; 1961
ASR0201 Laher Spring E.C. Corp. Oakland CA 1974
ASR0202 Latex Fibre Industries  Beaver Falls NY 1959-1961; 1974-1977
ASR0203 Latex Fibre Industries (formerly West Jersey Paper) Camden NJ 1962-1974
ASR0204 Lewis Asphalt Eng. Co. Clark NJ 1958; 1959; 1962
ASR0205 Magnus Products Detroit MI 1965
ASR0206 Mameco Int. Cleveland OH 1978-1980
ASR0207 Manning Paper Green Island NY 1971
ASR0208 Marbon Chemical Div., Borg Warner Washington WV 1964
ASR0209 Marson Corp. Revere MA 1973; 1974
ASR0210 Marvin Corp. Montebello CA 1974-1976; 1979
ASR0211 Mastic Tile Corp. of America Newburgh NY 1959; 1960
ASR0212 Mastic Tile Corp. of America (div of Ruberoid) Houston TX 1960
ASR0213 Mathis & Son Fort Myers FL 1964; 1965
ASR0214 McCann Shields Paint Co. Pittsburgh PA 1960
ASR0215 Mearl Corp. Roselle Park NJ 1963
ASR0216 Meriden Moulded Plastic Meriden CT 1977
ASR0217 Metropolitan Roofing Bronx NY 1959-1983; 1985
ASR0218 Midwest Products Co. Chicago IL 1975; 1978; 1979; 1980; 1982; 1983
ASR0219 Midwest Products Co. Cleveland OH 1974
ASR0220 Mobile Corp. Mobile AL 1984; 1985
ASR0222 Monsey Products Kimberton PA 1975-1983; 1985
ASR0224 Monsey Products Wissahicken PA 1959-1968; 1971-1975
ASR0223 Monsey Products Rock Hill SC 1975-1978
ASR0221 Monsey Products Garland TX 1981; 1982; 1985
ASR0225 Mortell Corp. Warren MI 1974-1983; 1985
ASR0226 Mosler Safe Co. Hamilton OH 1959
ASR0227 Motion Control (Molded Materials) Ridgeway PA 1979-1983; 1985
ASR0228 National Gypsum New Orleans LA 1973-1977
ASR0229 National Gypsum Millington NJ 1973-1975
ASR0230 New York Flooring Co.,. Providence RI 1959
ASR0233 Nicolet Industries Hamilton OH 1958; 1966-1970; 1975-1978
ASR0231 Nicolet Industries Ambler PA 1965-1972; 1975-1985
ASR0234 Nicolet Industries Lansdale PA 1980
ASR0232 Nicolet Industries Norristown PA 1964-1970; 1975-1985
ASR0235 Nu-Brite Chemical Co. Taunton MA 1960; 1962
ASR0236 Overall Paint and Lead Co. Cleveland/Bedford OH 1974-1983; 1985
ASR0237 Owens Corning Fiberglas Berlin NJ 1959-1972
ASR0238 Palmer Asphalt Bayonne NJ 1959; 1960; 1962-1969; 1971; 1974; 1975; 1977; 1983
ASR0239 Palmer Products Louisville KY 1980-1983
ASR0240 Parr Inc. Fort Worth TX 1975
ASR0241 Passono Watervliet NY 1974; 1977; 1978; 1983; 1985
ASR0242 Patrick Ross Co. Cambridge MA 1960-1962; 1972
ASR0243 Pennsalt Chemical Tacoma WA 1966
ASR0244 Peper Bros. Richmond Hill NY 1958
ASR0245 Perfection Industries Cleveland OH 1981; 1982; 1983
ASR0246 Permaseal Tampa FL 1985
ASR0248 Philip Carey Co. Perth Amboy NJ 1964
ASR0247 Philip Carey Co. Lockland OH 1964
ASR0249 Phoenix Cement Co. Clarkdale AZ 1960-1969
ASR0250 Plastic Sealers St. Louis MO 1961-1964; 1968
ASR0251 Plastigage Corp. Jackson MI 1963-1966
ASR0252 Pool King Jacksonville FL 1983; 1984
ASR0253 Pre-Mix Products Miami FL 1966
ASR0254 Proseal Mfg. Cleveland OH 1977; 1981; 1982; 
ASR0255 Prospect Paint Co. Secaucus NJ 1958-1960
ASR0256 Protective Treatment Dayton OH 1980-1983
ASR0257 Quigley Co. Old Bridge NJ 1958-1969
ASR0259 Quin-T Corp. Tilton NH 1982; 1983; 1985
ASR0258 Quin-T Corp. Erie PA 1981; 1985
ASR0260 R. M. Friction (Raymark Industries) Crawfordsville IN 1978; 1979; 1980
ASR0261 R.M.Lucas Chicago IL 1975; 1978
ASR0265 Raybestos Manhattan Fullerton CA 1970-1974
ASR0263 Raybestos Manhattan Bridgeport CT 1966
ASR0266 Raybestos Manhattan Marshville NC 1979; 1980
ASR0267 Raybestos Manhattan Passaic NJ 1960; 1963; 1965-1970
ASR0262 Raybestos Manhattan Mannheim PA 1959; 1960; 1969-1974; 1976; 1977; 1985
ASR0264 Raybestos Manhattan Charleston SC 1976; 1978
ASR0268 Raybestos Manhattan/R.M. Friction (Raymark Industries) Stratford CT 1960-1985
ASR0270 Republic Powdered Metals Gilroy CA 1977-1979
ASR0269 Republic Powdered Metals Cleveland OH 1964
ASR0271 Republic Powdered Metals Medina OH 1964; 1970; 1977-1979; 1981; 1982
ASR0272 Resinoid Engineering Corp. Chicago IL 1974
ASR0273 Richard Klinger Sidney OH 1978-1983; 1985
ASR0274 Riverside Cement Crestmore CA  1960-1965; 1976-1978 
ASR0275 Riverside Cement Riverside CA 1979
ASR0276 Rogers Corp. Rogers CT 1959; 1960
ASR0277 Roman Stone Long Island NY 1977-1981
ASR0278 Royal Industries Newcastle IN 1976
ASR0279 RPM Products Medina OH 1974
ASR0280 Russell Mfg. Co. Middletown CT 1960-1970
ASR0281 Rutland Fire Clay Co.  Rutland VT 1959
ASR0282 S. W. Grease & Oil Bakestown PA 1975
ASR0283 Schnee Morehead Chemical. Irving TX 1959; 1960; 1974
ASR0284 Seabord Asphalt Products Co. Baltimore MD 1978; 1979; 1981
ASR0285 Seabord Plastics/Supplies Irvington NJ 1964-1983; 1985
ASR0286 Seal E. Plastic Cleveland OH 1965
ASR0287 Sealrite Caulking Co. Brooklyn NY 1958
ASR0288 Sentco Paint Youngstown OH 1978; 1979
ASR0289 Sentell Supply Miami FL 1967
ASR0290 Sika Chemical Lindhurst NJ 1962-1965; 1967-1969; 1971-1974; 1976-1980
ASR0291 Silver Line Brake Lining Corp. Santa Clara CA 1960-1962; 1964; 1968; 1969
ASR0292 Smith & Kanzler Corp.  Linden NJ 1958
ASR0293 Solar Compounds Linden NJ 1963-1983
ASR0294 Sorg Paper Co. Middletown OH 1962-1964
ASR0295 South Petroleum  Fort Worth TX 1973
ASR0296 Southern Asbestos (HK Porter) Bennettsville SC 1974; 1976
ASR0297 Southern Mfg. Co.  Miami IL 1974
ASR0298 Southern Paint Products Co. Atlanta GA 1966
ASR0299 Southland Raritan NJ 1973; 1974
ASR0300 Southwestern Petroleum Co. Fort Worth TX 1974
ASR0301 Square D Peru IN 1964
ASR0302 Standard Oil of California San Francisco CA 1962
ASR0303 Structuralite Hebron OH 1975; 1976
ASR0304 Supradur Windgap PA 1975-1983; 1985
ASR0305 Tallex Industries Mesa AZ 1980
ASR0306 Tallman McCloskey Fabric Co. Kirkwood MO 1958; 1961; 1963; 1964
ASR0307 Texas Refinery Fort Worth TX 1975; 1976; 1977
ASR0308 Texas Texture Paint Dallas TX 1975
ASR0309 Texon. South Hadley Falls MA 1962
ASR0310 Thiem Products Milwaukee WI 1979
ASR0311 Tile Tite Cleveland OH 1965
ASR0312 Tilo Roofing Co. Stratford CT 1962-1966
ASR0313 Trenton Paper Co. Trenton NJ 1960; 1961
ASR0314 Tri Ram Corp Framingham MA 1967
ASR0315 Tropical Asphalt Hallendale FL 1973-1983; 1985
ASR0316 Tropical Paint Cleveland OH 1960
ASR0317 Tuff Tire Framingham MA 1981; 1982; 1983
ASR0318 Tuff-Kote Asphalt Products. East Detroit MI 1960-1965; 1969-1973
ASR0319 Tuff-Kote Asphalt Products. Warren MI 1973-1976; 1978
ASR0324 U.S Gypsum Co. Fort Dodge IA 1967; 1969; 1970; 1971
ASR0320 U.S Gypsum Co. East Chicago IN 1959-1973
ASR0321 U.S. Automotive Tappahannock VA 1982; 1983; 1985
ASR0327 U.S. Gypsum Co. South Gate CA 1964; 1970
ASR0322 U.S. Gypsum Co. Baltimore MD 1966-1969
ASR0326 U.S. Gypsum Co. River Rouge MI 1961-1964

Mesothelioma Court Room Battle Goes to Another Level- Are the Lawyers Going too Far?

 

The following article appeared in today’s Legal Intelligencer. This demonstrates clearly the level of acrimony reached in  modern product liability cass when the individual takes on corporate America. You decide if the battle has gone too far.

“A Philadelphia senior judge said she declared a mistrial in a hotly contested asbestos case because the defendants sent a copy of their motion for her recusal to the administrative judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ trial division.

When Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge Esther R. Sylvester entered an order granting a mistrial June 28, her order did not give detailed reasons for granting a mistrial, only stating in a one-paragraph order that “based upon the serious appearance of impropriety that occurred during trial, and post-trial, which is a matter of the trial record and of public record, this court hereby declares a mistrial.”

Sylvester’s opinion, dated July 26, said one of the reasons she was granting a mistrial was because “the overreaching courtroom tactics of defense counsel reached their apogee in an attempt by defense counsel to intimidate the trial judge and improperly influence the outcome of the trial by writing to the administrative judge of the First Judicial District in the middle of the trial to complain that the trial judge was ‘biased against defendants,’ despite a number of rulings favorable to the defense.”

Sylvester said there was a “murky dispute” over whether the letter to Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. Herron, the administrative judge of the trial division, was ex parte, although it now appears that plaintiffs counsel Robert E. Paul, of Paul, Reich & Myers in Philadelphia, had received a copy of the letter in an email.

Herron wrote in a letter to the editor published March 12 in The Legal that he did not know if the motion was sent ex parte. But the administrative judge wrote that he did receive a copy of the defendants’ disqualification motion involving Sylvester, but he “promptly discarded it as I have nothing to do with such matters.”

Whether the letter was sent ex parte or not, it was improper, Sylvester said in her opinion.

While defendant Honeywell International said in its motion for recusal and mistrial that “‘Honeywell respectfully submits that the Honorable Judge Sylvester has improperly exhibited feelings of bias and prejudice toward defendants, and in favor of plaintiffs … such that her impartiality is now justifiably and reasonably eradicated,’” Sylvester wrote that the court “at all times conducted itself appropriately, indeed with restraint, during trial, especially given frequent intentional provocation bordering on contempt.”

While defendant Ford Motor Co. filed an appeal on behalf of itself, Honeywell International and Pneumo Abex LLC from Sylvester’s order granting a mistrial and Sylvester’s order quashing the final judgment docketed by the defendants’ praecipe, Sylvester said in her opinion that an order declaring a mistrial is interlocutory and non-appealable in nature.

The senior judge also said plaintiffs counsel were not provided notice of their attempt to enter judgment.

Paul said in amended post-trial motions filed March 22 that the defendants in Webber v. Ford Motor Co. sought to “intimidate” Sylvester by writing to Herron and Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Sandra Mazer Moss about their motion to recuse Sylvester and also by asking Sylvester to adopt a proposed verdict sheet used by Herron when he tried an asbestos case.

Earlier this year, Herron presided over an asbestos case as part of his review of asbestos and other mass tort protocols.

Paul’s post-trial motion was filed in the wake of a defense verdict in favor of Ford, Honeywell and Pneumo Abex, and in the wake of a motion by Honeywell, joined by the two co-defendants, seeking Sylvester’s recusal as well as a mistrial.

“Having sought to intimidate Judge Sylvester by writing to Judges Herron and Moss during the trial, defendants then sought to intimidate her again to adopt their proposed verdict sheet which had been used, they claimed, by Judge Herron in another case,” Paul said in the amended post-trial motion. “No court official or supervisor was involved except to receive, discard and disregard the letters transmitting the motion to recuse and to disregard the motion to recuse itself. Any other interpretation is not supported by the facts.”

Paul originally wrote Feb. 27 that “the adoption of this form of verdict sheet was the direct result of the intimidation of the court by defendants. Defendants communicated ex parte to Judges Herron, [Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Allan L.] Tereshko [supervising judge of the trial division's civil section] and Moss falsely complaining about illusory favoritism toward plaintiffs in a letter never sent to plaintiffs counsel. Adoption of this verdict sheet was at direct ex parte instigation by defendants.”

In Paul’s original motion, he continued, stating that “the court made clear when it noted that the supervising judges had proposed the verdict sheet in response to the ex parte contact at a meeting convened by the supervising judges after the ex parte letter from defendants.”

Herron said in his March 12 letter to the editor: “There was no meeting of the supervising judges. There was no effort to influence Judge Sylvester nor would there be. I was not involved in the case. None of us were involved in the trial, the verdict sheet or the jury’s decision in favor of the defendants.”

Ford’s counsel, Sharon L. Caffrey of Duane Morris in Philadelphia, said in court papers that “defendants never attempted to intimidate the court regarding the verdict form, nor was the court intimidated. Rather, Honeywell, joined by the other defendants, presented the court with a verdict form recently used by Judge Herron in an asbestos case, just as plaintiffs proposed a verdict form recently used by [Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Senior Judge Victor] DiNubile. Plaintiffs’ contention that Judge Sylvester allowed herself to be intimidated into adopting the verdict form because the form previously had been used by Judge Herron is both preposterous and insulting to Judge Sylvester. Further, the verdict form actually used in the Webber case differs from the verdict form that Honeywell had proposed, because changes were made as a result of the discussion of the issue before Judge Sylvester. Therefore, plaintiffs’ argument is not only preposterous, but also irrational.”

Honeywell’s counsel, Peter J. Neeson and Scott F. Griffith of Rawle & Henderson, wrote in response to Paul’s amended post-trial motion that the allegations that the defendants tried to intimidate Sylvester “are not supported by the trial record and are so outrageous, and without any evidentiary support whatsoever, as to warrant the imposition of sanctions against plaintiffs’ counsel. Honeywell admits that it joined with the other defendants in proposing to the trial court that it use certain portions of a jury verdict form that Judge Herron had recently used in another case.”

Robert N. Spinelli, Catherine N. Jasons and Thomas P. Hanna, of Kelley Jasons McGowan Spinelli Hanna & Reber, are counsel for defendant Pneumo Abex.

Paul, Hanna, Caffrey and Griffith did not respond to requests for comment.

The plaintiff, George Webber, and his wife said in court papers that his peritoneal mesothelioma was diagnosed in October 2010. The plaintiffs argued that Webber was exposed to asbestos from brake linings and clutches used in Ford vehicles, from Bendix brakes and brake linings, and from Abex brake linings. Honeywell is the successor to Bendix.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that arises in the lining surrounding the abdominal cavity known as the peritoneum.

 

Asbestos Defense Expert William McCaffrey Excluded

The defedants in asbestos cases will go to great lengths to defeat claims brought by deserving plaintiffs. One of the tactics commonly used is to attempt to blame other exposures with little basis in fact. Below is a transcript from a recent argument where a judge excluded the defense expert. the transcript speaks for itself.

 

IN THE SUPERIOR COURT

STATE OF CALIFORNIA, COUNTY OF ALAMEDA

RENE C. DAVIDSON ALAMEDA COUNTY COURTHOUSE

ADMINISTRATION BUILDING

1221 OAK STREET, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

DEPARTMENT NUMBER 24

BEFORE THE HONORABLE FRANK ROESCH, JUDGE

—o0o—

BONNIE EVANS, Individually and as

Successor-in-Interest to Decedent,

DONALD EVANS; BILL EVANS, SANDY BISHOP,

SHIRLEY URIE,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

Case No. RG10-538490

ASBESTOS CORPORATION, LTD., et al.,

Defendants.

____________________________________/

REPORTER’S TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS

MONDAY, JULY 23, 2012

TAKEN BEFORE: PEGGY TSUJIMOTO, CSR NO. 5229

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PEGGY TSUJIMOTO, CSR #5229

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A P P E A R A N C E S

FOR THE PLAINTIFFS:

CLAPPER, PATTI, SCHWEIZER & MASON

BY: STEVEN PATTI, Attorney at Law

DEBORAH F. SCHWEIZER, Attorney at Law

2330 Marinship Way, Suite 140

Sausalito, California 94965

415-332-4262

deborah@clapperlaw.com

Steve@clapperlaw.com

NEMEROFF LAW FIRM

BY: RICK NEMEROFF, Attorney at Law

2626 Cole Avenue, Suite 450

Dallas, Texas 75204

281-378-5970

Ricknemeroff@nemerofflaw.com

NEMEROFF LAW FIRM

BY: BARRETT NAMAN, Attorney at Law

CHRIS NORRIS, Attorney at Law

55 Waugh Drive, Suite 850

Houston, Texas 77077

214-774-2258

barrettnaman@nemerofflaw.com

chrisnorris@nemerofflaw.com

FOR THE DEEFENDANT CROWN, CORK & SEAL COMPANY:

ARMSTRONG & ASSOCIATES

BY: WILLIAM H. ARMSTRONG, Attorney at Law

AMBER R. CRAIG, Attorney at Law

One Kaiser Plaza, Suite 625

Oakland, California 94612

510-433-1830

Billarmstrong@armstrongetal.com

amber.craig@armstrongetal.com

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PEGGY TSUJIMOTO, CSR #5229

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FOR THE DEFENDANT CRANE CO.:

KIRKPATRICK & LOCKHART, PRESTON, GATES, ELLIS, LLP

BY: CLIFTON T. HUTCHINSON, Attorney at Law

1717 Main Street, Suite 2800

Dallas, Texas 75201-7342

214-939-5444

cliff.hutchinson@klgates.com

KIRKPATRICK & LOCKHART, PRESTON, GATES, ELLIS, LLP

BY: MICHELE BARNES, Attorney at Law

DANIEL FOX, Attorney At Law

4 Embarcadero Center, Suite 1200

San Francisco, California 94111

415-882-8200

michele.barnes@klgates.com

daniel.fox@klgates.com

—o0o—

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about whether the law applies right now. And if I determine

that the law doesn’t apply, then the motion will be granted

because it makes the evidence — the proposed evidence

irrelevant. I can see no good reason to apply the Pennsylvania

law. 13 will be granted then.

Number 14.

MR. NEMEROFF: Our motion to strike and exclude a

Thomas — if I may, Your Honor, this is an interesting motion

and it’s interesting because there are two different defendants

who have listed the same witness. Crown, Cork has taken this

witness to extreme position as an expert where there is no

expertise to be had. There is no foundation to it. This isn’t

a wait until we get to cross and we could figure it out.

That’s Crown, Cork.

Crane Company, by contrast, has been very honest and

very forthright in identifying the limitations of this witness.

I know that because I have the designations that Crane Company

filed for this witness, Thomas McCaffery, and I have the

witness disclosure from Crown, Cork.

Crane Company admits this witness is simply qualified

to locate archives and records. That’s what Crane Company

says. He can research personnel records. He can get the

records from a location. It would be like Mr. Norris, who

spent a lot of time researching law, is qualified in finding

cases and locating things. That’s the limit of this witness’s

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qualifications and expertise, as Crane Company rightly

identifies him.

Crown, Cork, however, does something completely

different with that information that this witness locates.

What Crown, Cork has this witness do, with no expertise

whatsoever, with no qualifications whatsoever, Crown, Cork has

this witness interpret documents, tell us what they mean, tell

us what Mundet was thinking, tell us what the navy intended,

tell us what the navy wanted to do. This is what this witness

does. Instead of saying I’ve found these documents and I

authenticate them, which Crane Company would have this witness

do and we have no quarrel with that.

He found them in the archives and wherever he found

them. Crown, Cork wants this witness to then take these

documents that he simply found and tell a story about them. He

wants to impute that because I found a record, I can tell you

that Mundet did not sell their products to the U.S. navy. How

do you know that? Well, I know that if they had to do X, Y,

and Z, they didn’t really care to sell it because they’re not

on the list and they didn’t go to this meeting and they didn’t

bother to show up.

It boggles the mind how he takes information which is

factual in nature, interprets it with no background whatsoever.

So who is this Thomas McCaffery? He went to the Merchant

Maritime Academy. He spent maybe a couple of months on board a

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ship. He is not in the navy. He is not a navy seaman as a

machinist the way Mr. Evans was. He doesn’t have an

engineering background to talk about the machinery equipment

used on board vessels. He is a researcher. He is an

archivist.

THE COURT: Don’t you graduate from the Maritime

Academy with an engineering degree?

MR. NEMEROFF: No, Your Honor. In fact, there are two

ways you can go. His was not in engineering. He winds up

going the track that is MBA bound, not engineering bound. He

admits that. This isn’t a question of whether he is or he

isn’t. What he has done is he has become a jack-of-all-trades

witness.

So I asked him in his deposition, for example, “What is

the source of your opinion for Mundet not sending their

products across country to the navy? My years of experience in

research. Well, tell me what documents. My years of

experience in research. Well, point me to a document. My

years of experience in research.”

It’s like this circular logic. I would, quite frankly,

encourage the Court to read the deposition of Mr. McCaffery

because it’s a 45-minute exercise in total futility and

frustration to get an answer with any substantive response.

It’s continually back to my years of experience in research are

the basis for every answer, but when probed, what specific

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documents do you rely upon and he refers back to his years of

experience in research.

So my request, Your Honor, is quite simple. We don’t

necessarily have to exclude him for Crane Company because Crane

Company, quite frankly, did nothing wrong with respect to this

witness. They’ve listed him as essentially a person who will

authenticate some documents.

THE COURT: So you’re reducing the import of your

motion to be one where he can be called but only to identify

documents that he can authenticate?

MR. NEMEROFF: Which we will probably stipulate to that

authenticity of them and there will be no need for this witness

at all.

THE COURT: How is his testimony authenticating

documents different from your employees’ testimony

authenticating ads in magazines?

MR. NEMEROFF: Not much, Your Honor. That’s exactly my

point. If I find something — if an employee finds something

and says I found it where I expected to find it; it’s an

authenticate document, unless there is a challenge to the

authenticity of something, a witness is not necessarily

necessary.

I don’t think I have a problem with the authentication

of the documents that we say this witness found. I’m sure they

were found in the naval archives where he found them. I tend,

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as a lawyer, not to really fuss about authentication unless

there is a good reason to do so. Where I fuss is where

McCaffery takes a step outside of researcher and archivist and

becomes a storyteller and an interpreter and a diviner of

meaning and intention.

At that point, Your Honor, this witness with no

training or background — it’s not as if he ever published in

this area. It’s not as if he has ever done work in this area

that we can test. And I’ll go a step even further. What I’ve

come to learn is that this witness is now — for companies that

he never worked for, he gets designated as a corporate

representative where they basically feed him documents to

become a storyteller for other companies. That’s what he is.

You give him a bunch of documents and then he’ll tell a

story for you. Whether he’s qualified about the underlying

facts or not are completely secondary. Crown, Cork has done

that in this case. They have created a storyteller with no

foundation; whereas, Crane Company appears to only want to use

him to authenticate documents, which I truly believe is the

limit and extent of this witness’s expertise, to the extent

it’s an expert witness.

So, Your Honor, if we’re going to go beyond Crane

Company’s designation and allow him to, and I quote from Crown,

Cork, “He is going to” — first of all, he can’t testify about

state of the art and knowledge of the U.S. navy because that’s

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out.

MS. BARNES: It’s not out. It’s still relevant to

government contract.

MR. NEMEROFF: Well, not for your witness, for

McCaffery. That’s Crown, Cork saying. He has never shown any

expert to be able to interpret documents or interpret articles

and what the navy knows. There is another problem we have, and

that is, there are federal regulations which actually apply to

a witness testifying as to the customs and practices of the

U.S. Navy and you need to get permission from the government to

do so. There has been no such permission granted to this

witness.

THE COURT: There are no state secrets here, are there?

MR. NEMEROFF: It has nothing to do with state secrets.

After you’ve left the navy, if you are going to testify –

THE COURT: He never worked for the navy.

MR. NEMEROFF: He was in the navy for a little bit,

like six months as part of his training, but if he is going to

testify about what the navy did and why they did it and start

testifying about navy procedures, there is actually government

regulations that require you to get permission from the

government.

And here’s what is interesting. While this witness –

and I asked him, “Have you gotten this permission from the

government?” His response was, “I don’t need it,” and I said,

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“Why not?”

Well, as you know, somebody else in my company got a

letter from the judge advocate general saying he could testify

to it. What’s interesting about that statement is a

recognition that a letter from the JAG is necessary but not for

him. He doesn’t have that letter. So we have this entire

mishigas — I’ll try to spell that for you at some point — of

stuff that this witness is going to pretend to be an expert in,

none of which has any basis, and now he’s going to tell a story

about what the navy knew, when his experience was sometime in

the 1970s, some 20-plus years after Mr. Evans left or was off

the ship.

Your Honor, this witness is way beyond his scope of

expertise and his ability to testify. I would simply ask that

he be limited to exactly what Crane Company says he should be

able to testify to, nothing more or less. Crown, Cork has gone

way too far with this witness.

THE COURT: Let’s start on what might be the easier

side.

Ms. Barnes, do you have a position on this motion? Are

you intending to use this witness for more than authentication

of documents?

MS. BARNES: Yes, Your Honor, we do. I have the

designation here. The reason that the designation of

Mr. McCaffery is more limited in Crane Co.’s designation is

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because Crane Co. has other experts who will address issues

such as the navy knowledge, the navy procurement process. The

purpose for Mr. McCaffery’s testimony is that he is an

archivist. He reviewed all of the archive records related to

the products that were aboard navy ships. And in his review,

he has looked at the qualified products list that

Mr. Hutchinson referenced earlier, and that’s the list of

products which are approved by the navy for use on navy

vessels.

So what he did is — those change over time. So he

went through the historical records to see what gasket

materials were approved by the navy to be used on navy ships.

And in his research, he determined that cranite was not on the

QPL. So the purpose for his testimony is to talk about this

research that he has done, what he has done as an archivist and

give his ultimate opinion that because of the research that he

has done, because of the qualified products list that he has

reviewed that cranite was not on the qualified product list for

use as a gasket material in the navy. That is the scope of his

testimony as to Crane Co.

THE COURT: He could probably truthfully testify that,

just as an example, cranite was not on the lists that he looked

at, but, my goodness, there must be zillions of lists. Is he

going to testify that he looked at every single purchase order

for the navy during the Korean War?

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MS. BARNES: No.

THE COURT: Then how can he make that conclusion?

MS. BARNES: A purchase order is different than a

qualified products list. So what happened is the navy goes

through and they identify specific products. They test those

products. They determine whether those products — and so

there is a QPL enacted 1942 and it lists all of the

manufacturers whose gaskets are approved for use on navy ships.

That might be updated in 1942 and might be updated in 1953.

And what happens, it says QPL number, whatever the number is,

and then there is version A, B, C, D. So he can track when the

changes occurred to those and all of the QPLs that relate to

specific types of products.

It doesn’t have to do with purchase orders. It has to

do with what the navy had as a list of what could be purchased.

MR. HUTCHINSON: You have to be approved, Your Honor,

before. When the supply officer goes and says I need some

gaskets for this aircraft carrier, he has to go to the QPL and

say here are ten companies that I can buy from, period. And

the point is Crane Co. wasn’t on that list. They weren’t an

approved supplier.

THE COURT: Then he can identify the document and you

can point that out. Why do you need a witness to tell you that

that’s a conclusion?

MS. BARNES: He’s not limited to his testimony of

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authenticating the documents, though. He needs to be able to

describe what the process is of reviewing the QPLs and the

history of the QPL and how it came about and why he was looking

for what he was looking for. It all goes to why the documents

are relevant. And his ultimate conclusion is I’ve looked and

this is everything I’ve found and based upon what I would have

expected to have found, that cranite is not on the QPL and

therefore would not have been approved for sale to the United

States Navy.

MR. NEMEROFF: Your Honor, I’m looking at this

designation from Crane Company and there are two things that

strike me right off the bat. First, the word cranite never

appears in his designation and, more importantly, the words QPL

or qualified products list never appear in the Crane Company

designations.

What they conclude for Crane Company is, “Mr. McCaffery

will conduct naval research in this case regarding the various

ships aboard which plaintiff served and will authenticate

documents pertaining to such research.”

I agree. That is what he does.

MS. BARNES: If you look at the sentence before that,

you’re right –

MR. NEMEROFF: Counsel, I’m not done.

THE COURT: Can I find that document in this?

MR. NEMEROFF: We did not attach it, Your Honor. If I

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may approach.

THE COURT: Would you do me the favor of showing

Ms. Barnes first.

MS. BARNES: That is not the document. Oh, yes, it is.

MR. NEMEROFF: If I may approach, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Sure.

MS. BARNES: Your Honor, I would direct your attention

to line 17 which references the qualified products list.

THE COURT: With all due respect, Ms. Barnes, this

doesn’t say he is qualified to interpret those documents. It

just says he has the expertise to research U.S. Navy personnel

records, navy military specifications, qualified products list,

and related records. So he can research those.

MS. BARNES: Relevant to this –

THE COURT: Does that mean he can tell us what they

mean within a broader framework?

MS. BARNES: His expertise to research them necessarily

entails what his knowledge is with respect to what they mean.

I mean, if he’s not qualified to research it, then — it all

goes to his background.

THE COURT: Mr. Armstrong.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Yes, Your Honor. I’m not sure if you

would have received the opposition we submitted on Friday to

this late motion, but we did address –

THE COURT: I have not seen it. I saw Crane’s

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opposition. I do not have it on my desk here.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Let me summarize then the first

question that was raised in the motion.

THE COURT: Hold on a second. I take that back. It is

here. It was hiding.

MR. ARMSTRONG: All right.

THE COURT: That means I’ve looked at it.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Okay. I don’t think there is any real

quarrel that Mr. McCaffery is an expert. There may be some

dispute about the extent of his expertise, but he did graduate

from the Maritime Academy. And although he did go through the

deck department rather than the engineering department, even

deck officers have to have some engineering know-how.

He did serve for a brief period on active duty in the

navy. He has been a reserve naval officer for, I think,

20 years or so. In his — he also served in the merchant

marine and has a civilian career in marine logistics and

transportation.

The archival aspects of his work have come up later in

his career, and I think the point of expertise in that area

that is key here was suggested by your question a moment ago.

There must be lots of these QPLs. There are –

THE COURT: I said purchase orders. If you’re going to

demonstrate that we never bought any of these, you have to look

at every purchase order.

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MR. ARMSTRONG: Correct, if that’s the route you want

to go, but as was said a moment ago, one of the things that

Mr. McCaffery can talk to within his area of expertise is the

process by which — and this is all set forth in navy

regulations and so on. So it’s clearly an area that most

jurors would be unfamiliar with and the expert would be of aid

to the jury to say the way the navy does this is they set up a

scheme by which if you want to sell your gaskets or thermal

insulation or whatever it is to the navy, you have to submit

your products to the navy testing operation and have them do

some testing to satisfy themselves that your product is

satisfactory.

Then you can get on the qualified product list. That

means you’re allowed to bid. It doesn’t mean you’re

necessarily going to sell anything. You have to go through a

bidding process and the navy has to select you for any

particular purchase that they happen to be making.

Mr. McCaffery has been through these qualified products

lists so that he feels he can say, “I’ve looked at them all” –

from the standpoint of the Mundet products, he will say the

first time that any Mundet thermal insulation product is on any

of the qualified product lists is in, I believe it was, late

1951.

And the other area of his expertise in document

interpretation is the navy categorized different types of

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insulation depending on the temperature requirements and so on.

So they assigned a category. At one point, it was an

alphabetical A, B, C, and another time it was 1, 2, 3. What

Mr. McCaffery can do and show you on the documents is, okay,

Mundet was approved for — I can’t remember the category

numbers now, but let’s just say it was category 1.

And then he can take that and look at the documentation

for the two overhauls that were conducted on the ship in

question here and look at the documentation. What was the navy

going to do on these overhauls? And those documents, he can

show you, describe what jobs required what kind of insulation.

And he can go through and say, “All right, this job they needed

category 3 insulation,” but Mundet was only approved for

category 1. So that job would not have involved any use of the

Mundet product because they weren’t on the list.

Here is the job that called for the category for which

Mundet was on the list. And so he can walk anyone through

these categories. It’s not a storytelling exercise. If you

will, it’s — it’s not really inscription, but he knows these

categories and he can say this is category 1 and they were

looking for category 3 and that’s not a match, if you will.

THE COURT: How long is the document? How many pages?

MR. ARMSTRONG: QPLs?

THE COURT: That describes what sort of work needed to

be done when the ship came in.

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MR. ARMSTRONG: On the overhauls?

THE COURT: Yes.

MR. ARMSTRONG: I would be speculating, Your Honor. I

haven’t seen the whole thing, but it’s a little booklet of

information that one has to go through. But again –

THE COURT: Ship is an awfully big item.

MR. ARMSTRONG: It really depends on how much –

THE COURT: 5,000 pages, I would think.

MR. ARMSTRONG: It depends on how much they were doing,

but again, the focus obviously — we’re not interested in

everything they were doing. The focus is on items that might

have required thermal insulation products. So that’s the

nature of his interpretive material.

Mr. Nemeroff is worried about some extraneous things

that I agree. Mr. McCaffery read some other documents and made

his interpretation of them. I’m not planning to use him for

that purpose. The other item for which I think Mr. Nemeroff

touched upon was Mr. McCaffery’s view that because the overhaul

occurred in mid 1952 out here and Mundet’s plant was in New

Jersey, given the normal time lag between when somebody would

be able to bid on a project and get through the process, the

sort of a red tape factor, he opined that it was unlikely that

a company that just went on the qualified product list in late

1951 would have had an opportunity to get on the track, if you

will, and get a successful bid and get their product on this

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particular overhaul seven or eight months later, whatever it

was.

Now, the other factor that he can testify to from his

expertise, if not common sense, is there would have been a

shipping cost associated with sending a product from New Jersey

to California. And in order to be a successful bidder, the New

Jersey based company would have somehow had to figure out how

to underbid the various companies that were out here. I mean,

the manufacturing plants were in California and they were on

the qualified products list and would have been competitors for

this particular project. So that’s basically his — the

purposes for which we would ask him to testify.

And I guess the final point, this reference to this

regulation, in our papers we cited the actual regulation and –

THE COURT: You gave an example.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Gave an example.

THE COURT: Copy of a letter.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Also pointed out that to the extent

this regulation had the effect that Mr. Nemeroff so

passionately advocates, it would also seem to apply to the

decedent’s testimony about his work in the navy, but the real

bottom line of all of this is there’s a case that basically

says private — this regulation was for the benefit of the

Department of Navy, not for private litigants, and there’s no

private right of action or anything to exclude testimony, and

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the JAG letter to which Mr. Nemeroff refers is a letter

actually to Mr. McCaffery’s wife who works with him, and the

JAG letter says not you are permitted, but rather you do not

need permission; this regulation is not intended to cover the

kind of thing you’re doing.

That’s the nub and substance of it. As I said, there

is a case that specifically makes clear this regulatory scheme

is not something that private litigants can take advantage of

to try and keep testimony out. So I’ll just kind of leave it

at that.

THE COURT: What is the underpinning of McCaffery’s

knowledge on what kind of repair might be necessary in what

room of whatever boiler room of the ship?

MR. ARMSTRONG: You mean with regard to this particular

overhaul?

THE COURT: How does he know what kind of insulation

goes into boiler room number 1?

MR. ARMSTRONG: Because that’s what the overhaul

documentation specifies.

THE COURT: So you don’t know –

MR. ARMSTRONG: He has got the document. The only

thing he –

THE COURT: So you don’t need him to say that overhaul

of boiler room number 1 calls for number 3 insulation because

the document itself says so.

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MR. ARMSTRONG: That is the underpinning, but I do

think if you just have the document, then you’re either going

to have to have the lawyers tell the jury what it all means or

throw the documents at the jury and hope they can figure it

out.

I think this witness, as someone who is an expert in

the naval nomenclature and the documentation, can say, “Okay,

you see here it says Category 3. What that category is has

these characteristics, temperature requirements or whatever,

and the qualified product list that Mundet was on was category

1.”

THE COURT: How does he know what the temperature

requirements are?

MR. ARMSTRONG: Because the categories are specified.

The military says, okay, category 1 is good up to, I think it

is, 500 degrees. And then category 2 is what you need if

you’re going between 500 and a thousand and so on.

THE COURT: What I’m concerned about is that you have

– I think from the face of it, I’m not very sure what

McCaffery’s basis for knowledge is. Merely being researcher

and looking at documents doesn’t give you a perspective on how

to evaluate those documents.

I’m not sure I’ve heard that there is a base of

knowledge for Mr. McCaffery that can support the kinds of

evaluations of documents that you would like to put on him.

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MR. ARMSTRONG: I’m not sure that he is doing –

evaluation may be too broad a term. I would rather say that he

is able to interpret things like navy nomenclature which has –

there’s documentation that explains what that is, but I think

to have an expert witness say, “I have reviewed the

documentation. Category 3″ — I’m not sure about these numbers

myself, but let’s just use that.

THE COURT: We’re speaking in the abstract.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Right. He can say, “I have researched

this. I know category 3 is such and such. Here is the

document that tells you that.” He can help you put the pieces

of the puzzle together. And then the other part of it, of

course, is to say, “And Mundet was only on the list for

category 1, so that’s the one we would be looking for and here

is where I have found it,” and they have the — he has produced

the entire documentation. So if the plaintiff wants to go

through or have somebody on their behalf go through and say he

missed this one or he got this wrong, it’s there, but to give

the jury just — as I say, I don’t know how long it is, but

it’s a pretty big piece of document.

THE COURT: I can’t imagine that it would be short.

MR. ARMSTRONG: No. The idea is that he’s going to be

able to take that overhaul specification with the indication

that he’s not making this up. He can take us through and say

here’s where the items are that call for insulation and here’s

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the item that fits the QPL for Mundet and here’s what that

involved, and he can basically walk us through those documents,

more importantly, walk the jury through the documents and show

them the highlights that are important to the case without

getting lost in all of the details about whatever else they

might have been doing on that overhaul which, of course, would

have been extensive but have nothing to do with what we’re here

to discuss.

So I think — as far as his expertise, again I come

back to the fact that he has years in the merchant marine,

years at the maritime academy and some active duty navy

service, along with 20 years or more of reserve duty. He is

certainly qualified to talk about navy process here. “Here’s

what category 3 means. I’ve been there. I know where the

regulations are and I can show them to you and here it is.”

THE COURT: When you say he has been there, you mean he

has been at the archive?

MR. ARMSTRONG: He has been on the ship — he has been

in the navy and on the ships and in the archives. Mostly this

is a documentary issue. And the only interpretive matter is

when you look at the document and it says, “We’re going to do

such and such a job in boiler room number 1 or whatever it

might be and we’re going to use such and such an amount of

thermal insulation category 3.”

He can explain what category 3 is and whether or not

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that relates to the product that has been approved on a

qualified product list for Mundet. Obviously, somebody is on a

qualified product list for that product.

THE COURT: All right. Final words, Mr. Nemeroff.

MR. NEMEROFF: Yes, Your Honor. I will go to my brief

that we filed in opposition to strike this witness. I can’t

call him an expert in anything other than perhaps going to the

library. At page 5 of our motion to exclude, we cite some

testimony from Mr. McCaffery that speaks directly to his

qualifications that the Court, I think, hit upon.

It’s not just a matter of reading some books. What are

the foundations of his experience? He was asked in a prior

deposition that was taken — Exhibit E to our papers. “And you

are not purporting to be an expert on United States navy ship

and submarine maintenance, are you?” This was taken in another

case where ship and submarine maintenance was the question.

His answer is very telling. “Well, I have been involved in the

maintenance of navy ships, but the point here is that I’m an

expert on the research of those records.”

His total time — I think counsel perhaps misspoke,

either that or overembellished Mr. McCaffery’s experience on

board ships. It was a couple of months that he was on board

any naval vessel, just a couple of months. It was in the

1970s, I believe it was, post OSHA when things were done very

differently.

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Mr. McCaffery is going to testify about the

qualified –

THE COURT: Post OSHA?

MR. NEMEROFF: Yes, that’s when he was on board ships.

THE COURT: After OSHA?

MR. NEMEROFF: Yes.

THE COURT: And this was pre OSHA.

MR. NEMEROFF: This case is pre OSHA. Mr. McCaffery’s

only experience on board a naval vessel, for the very brief

period of time that it was, was after things had changed

dramatically.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. NEMEROFF: That opinion I asked Mr. McCaffery in

his deposition. The qualified product lists require no

expertise. You put the list in front of them. The jury either

sees the name or not. He is not qualified to tell the jury how

long it takes to get from one part of the country to the other

with pipe covering. I asked him what basis do you have. He

says, well, it’s just common sense. Well, if it’s just common

sense, we don’t need an expert to tell the jury about that.

He says he’s an expert in navy contracting. Can’t give

me any support for that. I asked him about his — what

particular products had to be used on board the vessels during

the overhauls. He can’t give me any qualifications for that,

other than to refer back to a 1943 schematic of the original

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construction of the ship and says, well, that must be

applicable to what happened at the overhaul in 1951 and 1952.

He has no idea other than whatever document he found.

He continues to make these things up as he goes through

them. I asked him about his opinion on approvals, and he goes

so far as to say, “Well, Mundet could not have been there

because the packaging of the Mundet product didn’t meet naval

approval.” So I asked him pointblank, “Sir, have you ever seen

the Mundet packaging? Well, no, but I know it could not” –

it’s like every answer to every question, when I asked what’s

your support, it’s either I haven’t seen documents or it’s

based upon my years of research. It’s never based upon his

personal experience.

So when the Court asks, what experience does he have in

an engine room, on an overhaul, on this nomenclature, there is

no foundation. Everything this witness learned he learned from

reading documents in the last couple of years. There is no

expertise. If that were the expertise required, with all due

respect, I could pick any one in this courtroom, send them to

the naval archives and then qualify them as an expert in all

the things that Crown, Cork wants this guy to be an expert in.

It requires no background. It requires no experience. It

simply requires a library card and the ability to write what

you want and read what they send you. That’s the extent of his

expertise, Your Honor. Everything else he makes up.

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Our papers demonstrate unequivocally that is what this

witness is. He is created for the purpose of telling the story

that has absolutely no basis in fact. It’s pure fiction. That

is what he does. He takes documents and says what he believes

them to mean. The best evidence rule does not allow that, Your

Honor.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Mr. Nemeroff keeps saying he makes it

up. He makes it up.

MR. NEMEROFF: He does.

MR. ARMSTRONG: That is an absolute boldface lie.

Mr. McCaffery says here is a piece of paper that is a

specification. It says thermal insulation category 3.

Mr. Nemeroff would love it if we just said, well, we’ve got to

show that to the jury, and then he would say, well, Crown

didn’t explain what category 3 was and nobody knows.

That’s why you have an expert. And you don’t have to

sail on a navy ship for 20 years to learn what a category 3 is.

The way you learn about what the navy means by category 3 is

you go to some manual or some document and you look it up.

Could anybody do it? I guess. Could anybody go to the

maritime academy? Probably if they get the grades and all of

that. But once you go to the maritime academy, the idea is

that you know something you didn’t know before you went. Could

anybody join the navy? No, not anybody but a lot of people do.

And once they have served, they know something they didn’t know

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before they did.

Mr. McCaffery brings to the table an expertise in the

navy contracting procedures. It’s limited but important. He

can explain how the navy uses the qualified products list and

what that process involves and the fact that the navy can’t buy

products that aren’t on the qualified products list. He can

describe what the qualified products lists say; that is, whose

products are on the list for what type of materials that are

germane to this case. And he can look at the overhaul records

for this particular ship for the two overhauls that were in

question here from a time frame perspective, and again pointing

to the document. He is not the guy you’re going — he doesn’t

pretend to be the guy that is going to actually supervise a

repair.

He can read the documents about the repair and explain,

okay, they called for this type of thermal insulation, and one

thing he knows as a former active duty navy officer and a

reserve officer is the practice was, if they built the ship to

have high temperature insulation on this line, then when they

do maintenance on that line, they’re going to probably — they

are going to replace that with comparable high temperature

insulation and so on.

This is not the subject of lay opinion. This is

something that you have to know something about in order to

interpret. On the other hand, it’s not manufactured testimony.

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When you have somebody who can say, “I have looked at the

document. Here’s what it says. It’s in black and white, and

here’s what it means, by the way, for the parts that are

categories and codes,” that the average person would not

understand.

So I think his ability to come and explain to the jury

“Here’s what it means” is really the classic use of an expert

witness. And if, by chance, there is some area that we get

into that goes too far afield, I’m sure we’ll hear an objection

and Your Honor can rule on that. And if Mr. Nemeroff finds an

area where Mr. McCaffery has no support for his view, I guess

that does go to the credibility, but I think the general — in

general, Mr. McCaffery’s utility in terms of helping the jury

is walking them through this documentation of one other aspect.

Mr. Nemeroff touched on the identification of the

packaging on the dock. Mr. McCaffery — among other

regulations that he’s familiar with are the regulations the

navy has about what you can put on the packaging of materials

that you sell to the navy. And one of the things that is

restricted by those regulations is what kind of logos and

advertising-type material you can put on those government

packages.

I think — I’m not sure exactly what Mr. Nemeroff was

referring to, but I believe he was referring to Mr. McCaffery’s

view that the navy would not typically allow any manufacturer

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to use some large logo as, in this instance, a big M on a

package that was going to the military. They have their

requirements. But the point is that he has developed this

expertise in navy regulations that is key to the contracting

aspects of the case.

THE COURT: All right. It would appear to me that the

plaintiff stipulates that McCaffery can testify about the

authenticity of documents that he has researched from the naval

archives, wherever they might be.

The remainder of the motion I will take under

submission and I’ll let you know. I am going to — I didn’t

read his deposition and I will read that before I make a

determination.

MR. NEMEROFF: Thank you.

THE COURT: Moving on to number 15, exclude the

testimony of Captain Charles Wasson.

MR. NEMEROFF: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Was there any opposition filed to this

motion?

MR. NEMEROFF: The only opposition I saw was Crane

Company’s.

MR. ARMSTRONG: Your Honor, we did not have an

opportunity to prepare a written opposition, but we do oppose

it.

THE COURT: Go ahead, Mr. Nemeroff, make your argument.

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MR. ARMSTRONG: Your Honor, may I suggest this motion

might be deferred, given the rulings this morning on number 16.

I frankly am not sure if Captain Wasson’s testimony would be

permitted under the new theory and if I can just defer until I

have –

MR. NEMEROFF: Fine.

MR. ARMSTRONG: If I am going to bring him, I will give

everybody plenty of advance warning. We can resuscitate this

motion, if necessary.

THE COURT: All right. So that –

MR. NEMEROFF: I don’t have a problem with that, Your

Honor, because I think it dovetails actually after

Mr. McCaffery.

THE COURT: We are going to reserve this motion.

With that, we have concluded the plaintiffs’ motions in

limine. Are there any others that have come to mind,

Mr. Nemeroff?

MR. NEMEROFF: Nothing, Your Honor, that — no.

THE COURT: All right. We will take a break.

(Recess taken from 2:23 to 2:40)

MR. HUTCHINSON: May I ask something of Your Honor.

You were talking about –

THE COURT: Let’s first do the obligatory. If the

Court would please come to order. Everybody that was here

before the break is still here.

This Weeks Asbestos News

Two New Jersey Men Indicted for Negligently Handling Asbestos
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Two men of Riverside, N.J., were indicted for negligently handling asbestos during a demolition and carelessly exposing their employees without proper protection. According to the article, the men agreed to cover all the demolition costs including proper asbestos abatement for all the recyclable materials that were in the building. However, the men failed to follow the proper procedures and are now being charged with serious crimes, “including second-degree offenses that carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison.”  Lucas K. Murray, Courier Post Online  06/21/2012
Read Article: Courier Post Online    

Diesel Fumes Now in the Same Category as Asbestos, Carcinogenic
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The World Health Organization (W.H.O) released a warning statement that diesel fumes are now known to cause cancer. According to the article, the fumes are just as carcinogenic as cigarette smoke and asbestos. “Still, experts say American are not likely to be at the same kind of risk as those in countries with inferior or outdated diesel technology.”  Keith Whitney, 11 Alive Atlanta  06/22/2012
Read Article: 11 Alive Atlanta    

Western Australian Mine Site Contaminated with Asbestos
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The West Angeles mine site in Pilbara, Western Australia, has warned their employees that the site was contaminated with asbestos. According to the article, “the asbestos was brought in from the Holcim quarry in Newman as landfill.” The Holcim quarry has voluntarily shut their operations down until further tests are performed. “Rio Tinto spokeswoman says exposure levels were below the occupational exposure limit.”  Staff Report, ABC News Australia  06/27/2012
Read Article: ABC News Australia    

Georgia Contractor Negligently Exposed Residents to Asbestos
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A Georgia Construction Company, Kidd and Associates Environmental Contractors, allegedly removed asbestos-containing debris from a high school during a renovation putting nearby residents at risk of exposure. According to nearby resident Joe Hirsch, the employees were tossing debris into a dumpster located near a bus stop and play ground. The school district stated their tests show no asbestos was present; however, the EPA will perform their own tests to confirm.  Steven Kiggins, CBS Atlanta  06/26/2012
Read Article: CBS Atlanta

Time Running Out to File Bankruptcy Claims Against Thorpe

After April 20, 2012 – the Statute of Limitations for filing claims with Thorpe Insulation Trust is “Claims must be filed within one year of the date of death…(unless exceptions apply)….”

 

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Lawsuits Undergo Major Changes

On Thursday Feb 16,2012, the Philadelphia Court system reversed a long standing policy of encouraging out of state plaintiffs to file and try cases in the Philadelphia trial Court. According to the Court, a backlog of cases has developed which is not in accordance with ABA guidelines. Others speculate the reversal was the result of continuing pressure from industry and the asbestos defense bar to change how mesothelioma lawsuits are handled in Pennsylvania.  It is unclear what the court directive means for out of state plaintiffs with  cases already filed in Philadelphia. Also eliminated by the directive is the long standing policy of trying cases in large groups as well as the use of a procedure known as reverse bifurcation. Reverse bifurcation involves trials where damages are tried before liability. This procedure was considered a major factor in fostering settlement.

To be sure, the reversal of the policy behind accepting mesothelioma cases and the trial of mesothelioma cases in Philadelphia is not good for plaintiffs as a whole. ” says Chris Placitella who chairs the American Association for Justice asbestos litigation group. Placitella, who was recently named by Trial Magazine as one of the 100 most influential trial lawyers in America rationalizes, “The silver lining, if there is one, is that people who develop mesothelioma in Pennsylvania will hopefully have their cases tried sooner with a less crowded docket.”

The directive also makes it more difficult for out of state lawyers to try asbestos cases in Philadelphia limiting any particular lawyer to two cases per year. The irony according to Placitella is that it is that some defendants and national defense firms will feel the weight of the court directive the most. Some out of state national defense counsel have made a living trying cases in Philadelphia even though they are not formally admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania. According to Placitella, plaintiffs whose cases belong in Pennsylvania will not be harmed by this directive assuming they still receive timely trial dates.  Those cases will simply be referred to law firms like ours who have a long history of success in the Pennsylvania court system.  Placitella’s law firm,  Cohen Placitella & Roth with offices in Philadelphia and New Jersey has a long  standing history of prosecuting cases in PA. Many corporate defendants on the other hand need to go out shopping for Pennsylvania lawyers to try their cases. The defendants will no longer have the choice of bringing  in outside national counsel to try the cases which will open up new opportunities for Pennsylvania lawyers. Other mass tort cases not involving asbestos, such as cases against the drug companies,  remain unaffected at this time. A copy of the Court directive is attached.

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