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Minnesota Apellate Court Upholds 4.6 Million Dollar Verdict

Today the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s $4.6 verdict against John Crane in the Newinski case tried last spring by Christian Hartley and Michael Strom. Crane’s appeal challenged several discretionary rulings by the trial court, Crane also challenged the very existence of joint and several liability in Minnesota products liability cases. Crane asserted that Minnesota employs several liability only. The plaintiffs argued that Minnesota has joint and several but that defendants can use a process called “reallocation” to reallocate shares of uncollectible entities’ fault (in this case OCF, Asbestospray, and Anchor) to all at fault parties, and somewhat the reduce the full impact of joint and several. The effect of the trial court’s reallocation to the case was to reduce Crane’s joint and several liability from $3,689,193 to $3,381,722.  The Minnesota not only upheld the trial court’s application of joint and several, but also ruled that Crane was not currently entitled to reallocation. Anyone interested in the opinion can find it at www.mncourts.gov under the court of appeals’ unpublished opinions.

Cohen, Placitella, and Roth

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