HVAC Co.'s Bid For Asbestos Suit Coverage Revived By 8th Circuit

  • HVAC Co.'S Bid For Asbestos Suit Coverage Revived By 8th Circuit

Daikin, an air conditioning company's asbestos litigation bid has been revived by the Eighth Circuit considering the omission of a single word from the district court that led to a faulty ruling that mandates the Continental Insurance Co. to defend Daikin.

As per the reports provided by the appeals court, the Minnesota district court impeded Daikin to prove it owed a defense from Continental as the judge decided that the company should be covered in 100 asbestos lawsuits.

U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank ruled that Continental is not liable to defend Daikin considering the asbestos litigation. The misplaced word 'arguably' forced Continental to defend Daikin.

As per the court documents, the origin of the dispute is due to a general liability policy that Continental provided to McQuay-Perfex from 1967 to 1982. The company underwent a series of corporate restructures and changed its name to Daikin Applied Americas Inc. The company started facing several lawsuits in 1998 alleging bodily injuries from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos is a combination of six silicate minerals, which existed for 4,000 years in silent form until manufacturers and builders discovered its unique properties and started using it as electrical insulation and building insulation. Asbestos usage has shown an undaunted increase ever since.

Unlimited and heavy exposure to Asbestos by workers and laborers involved in the construction industry, repairs of ships, specifically, during the removal of asbestos materials while renovation, repairs, or demolition face higher risks. Also, workers involved in the manufacturing of asbestos products such as textiles, friction products, insulation, other building materials, automotive brake, and clutch repair work who inhaled and ingested Asbestos, unknowingly or knowingly, are/were at risk.

Asbestos is one of the main ingredients in baby powder,  considered cosmetic when used in makeup and body powders, which require very little federal oversight. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting consumers about certain cosmetic products due to the presence of asbestos.

Despite several studies highlighting the cancer risk, the FDA does not require Baby Powder warnings on talc-based product labels to be updated. Moreover, J&J has also refused to add one, willingly.

FDA has confirmed that Popular makeup products Claire’s contain Asbestos. Claire’s is known for creating the store first came under fire in 2017 when FDA confirmed the presence of the toxin in three Claire’s products, as well as several products from Justice, another tween, and children’s store.

Both the companies Daikin and Continental stated that the insurer will not hesitate to defend the suits if they do not comply with McQuay-Perfex's old policy. Judge Frank's founding in August 2019 stated that Continental can defend the asbestos suit only if Daikin Applied has been sued as a successor to McQuay-Perfex.

The panel declined to decide if Continental should defend the suits. Even the lower court issued a declaration that Continental does not owe to defend Daikin.

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