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Case Studies

Louisiana Court of Appeals Sets Aside Trial Court Order in Chemical Fumes Exposure Case

Hawkins Parnell & Young secured vacatur of Louisiana court order purporting to certify a class of potentially hundreds of persons who worked in the City Hall Annex in New Orleans. In the released opinion, the Louisiana Court of Appeals agreed that the trial court had not properly defined the purported class in this “sick building” case. The plaintiffs claim that release of chemical fumes over a period of many years caused them to suffer various ailments. Hawkins Parnell's client, NID Corporation, and the other defendants, Pan American Life (former owner of the building) and the City of New Orleans argued, among other things, that the trial court failed to certify a proper class. The court of appeals did not reach the defendants’ other arguments asserting that the case is not proper for class certification in the first instance. Hawkins Parnell partner Robert Gilbreath briefed the case and argued it for NID Corporation. 


Delaware Supreme Court Affirms Summary Judgment for Reichhold

Hawkins Parnell & Young argued before the Delaware Supreme Court on behalf of Reichhold Incorporated, one of the world’s largest suppliers of resin products. The plaintiff claimed that his cancer was caused in part by exposure to asbestos-containing resins allegedly supplied by Reichhold to an Iowa manufacturing facility where the plaintiff worked. Reichhold’s summary judgment proof showed it supplied a miniscule portion of the resins used by the facility and that the plaintiff’s job duties did not bring him into sufficient contact with respirable asbestos released from Reichhold’s resins. The plaintiff appealed the summary judgment, asserting that co-worker testimony raised a fact question concerning the plaintiff’s alleged exposure to asbestos from Reichhold products. The Delaware Supreme Court affirmed the summary judgment. Robert Gilbreath argued the case to the Delaware Supreme Court.