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Summaries and analysis of recent Delaware court decisions concerning business-related litigation.

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Showing 6 posts in Toxic Torts.

Supreme Court Upholds Cross-Jurisdictional Tolling

Posted In Toxic Torts

The Dow Chemical Corporation v. Blanco, No. 492, 2012 (June 10, 2013)

The Delaware Supreme Court has upheld cross-jurisdictional tolling. Thus, when a class action is filed, the statute of limitations is tolled at least until the class is not certified. That is true even if, as here, the class action was filed in another jurisdiction.

Superior Court: Employer Owes No Duty to Employee's Spouse

Posted In Case Summaries, Toxic Torts
In re: Asbestos Litig., 2007 WL 4571196 (Del. Super. Ct. Dec. 21, 2007).

In this negligence action, a wife alleged that she was exposed to asbestos while laundering her husband’s work clothes. The employer moved for summary judgment, claiming it owed no duty to an employee’s spouse who had never set foot on company property and had only been injured as a result of take-home exposure.  This argument presented an issue of first impression in Delaware. 

In addressing the core question of when a duty of care arises, the court conducted a review of the doctrinal approaches advanced throughout the history of tort law, from Cardozo’s foreseeability analysis to Learned Hand’s B<PL formula. The court observed that none of these approaches had been adopted in Delaware to the exclusion of the others. Instead, it was up to the court to consider the relationship of the parties in each particular case in light of its peculiar facts.
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Superior Court Finds that Plaintiffs' Medical and Scientific Evidence that Exposure to Automotive Friction Products Increases the Risk of Contracting an Asbestos-related Disease is Sufficiently Reliable Under the Daubert Test

Posted In Case Summaries, Toxic Torts
In re Asbestos Litigation, C.A. No. 77C-ASB-2, 2006 WL 1231123 (Del. Super. Ct. May 9, 2006). DaimlerChrysler Corporation ("Chrysler") moved in limine to exclude plaintiffs' friction products (ie. brake and clutch products) causation expert witnesses as unreliable under the Daubert standard. The Court denied Chrysler's motion. More ›

Superior Court Finds that Settlement Agreement Did Not Require Insurance Companies to Reimburse Insureds for Money Paid to Cover Shortfalls in Payments to The Center for Claims Resolution by Defaulting Members

I.U. North America, Inc. v. A.I.U. Ins. Co., 896 A.2d 880 (Del. Super. Ct. 2006). This case involved claims for breach of contract and for declaratory judgment and ancillary relief to determine the responsibility for payment of liabilities incurred as a result of numerous claims and actions seeking to recover damages allegedly due to exposure to asbestos resulting from the conduct of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, the insureds, argued that a settlement agreement to resolve coverage issues arising out of asbestos claims required insurer to indemnify insureds for payments on behalf of defaulting parties to settlements. The plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, and the Superior Court found that the settlement agreement did not require insurer to reimburse insureds for payments on behalf of defaulting parties. More ›

Choice of Law Analysis: Delaware's "Continuous Trigger" Theory vs. Alabama's Reliance on the "Exposure Trigger" Theory

Posted In Business Insurance, Case Summaries, Toxic Torts
Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust v. Safety National Casualty Corp., 04C-02-087 MMJ, 2005 WL 2436193 (Del. Super. Ct. Sept. 29, 2005). Plaintiff Shook & Fletcher Asbestos Settlement Trust, as Successor to Certain Assets and Liabilities of Shook & Fletcher Insulation Company ("Shook & Fletcher"), brought an action to establish coverage for asbestos bodily injury claims under three excess liability policies issued by Safety National Casualty Company, successor to Safety Mutual Casualty Corporation ("Safety"), for policy years 1983 through 1985. The parties moved for summary judgment on various issues, including the choice of law and what act "triggered" the insurance coverage. The court found that Alabama law governed the insurance policies. The Court also determined that a conflict between Delaware and Alabama law exists because Delaware has adopted the "continuous trigger" standard. Because the choice of law analysis favored Alabama, that state's "exposure trigger" standard governed. More ›

Superior Court Excludes Plaintiff's Experts Pursuant to Defendant's Daubert Motion

Posted In Case Summaries, Toxic Torts
Bowen v. E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Inc., C.A. No. 97C-06-194 CH, 2005 WL 1952859 (Del. Super. Ct. June 23, 2005), aff'd, 906 A.2d 787 (Del. 2006). In this case, the plaintiffs, eight minor children and their parents, alleged that the children suffered from birth defects because of an agricultural product called Benlate. Alleging that certain of the experts for one of the plaintiffs were unqualified and that their opinions were unreliable, the defendant brought a Daubert motion pursuant to Delaware Rule of Evidence 702 to exclude their testimony regarding one of the minor children. The Court found for the defendants, and excluded the experts' testimony More ›