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Congratulations to Brian Schneider and Eric Reeves

Congratulations to Brian Schneider and Eric Reeves for their victory in John Crane Inc. v. Hardick, decided by the Supreme Court of Virginia on March 2, 2012. See the announcement in the DRI’s weekly e-newsletter, The Voice. In the first decision of its kind in the country, the Court applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1990 decision in Miles v. Apex Marine Corp., combined with the Death on the High Seas Act, to hold that non-pecuniary damages (such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium) are not available to a Navy seaman — claiming exposure to asbestos in domestic ports and abroad — who files a wrongful death suit under general maritime law. In so holding, the Court set aside nearly $3 million in damages.

John Crane, Inc. v. Hardick 03/02/2012 In a suit for wrongful death arising from decedent’s exposure to asbestos, under United States Supreme Court precedent construing general maritime law, the Federal Death on the High Seas Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 30301 et seq., and The Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. §§ 30104 et seq., the circuit court erred when it permitted the jury to award non-pecuniary damages since decedent was a Navy sailor exposed to asbestos both in territorial waters and on the high seas. Evidentiary issues are also discussed. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part and reversed in part, and the case is remanded for entry of a final order.