Photo of Molly Dugan

A litigator, Molly is energetic, organized and eager to help clients. She’s drafted pleadings and motions, including motions for summary judgment, resulting in more than 90 dismissals for clients prior to trial. She developed a daily litigation strategy and maintenance schedule for 250 complex, multi-defendant product liability cases for a variety of defendants, including industrial contractors, premises and products.

On May 20, 2023, the Minnesota legislature amended Minnesota’s Survival of Claims and Wrongful Death statutes. The amendments extend a potential-defendant’s liability by: (1) allowing trustee-plaintiffs to maintain claims on behalf of a deceased party, that historically could not be brought after death; and (2) allowing trustee-plaintiffs to potentially recover for all damages allegedly suffered by the decedent, not just economic harms stemming from and related to the death of the deceased party.

Last year, we highlighted Iowa’s groundbreaking law to end over-naming of defendants in asbestos and silica litigation. Now, just a year later, three more states have followed suit: North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. All three states enacted their own versions of legislation aiming to reduce and prevent the over-naming of defendants in asbestos cases. While all three of the bills share similarities, North Dakota’s bill is the most expansive of the three.

Iowa became the first state to enact a law addressing the over-naming of defendants in asbestos litigation this month. Signed June 1, the new law requires a plaintiff to file a sworn affidavit, in addition to the initial pleading, with specified evidence as a basis for his or her claim against each named defendant. Failure to provide this information against a defendant results in dismissal of that defendant. More details on the bill (SF2337) in our previous post.

On March 10, 2020, in a 54 to 46 vote, the Iowa House of Representatives passed Senate File 2337 (SF2337) in an effort to reduce the over-naming of asbestos defendants in related lawsuits filed in Iowa.  The legislation focuses on reducing, or eliminating, the over-naming of asbestos defendants by requiring plaintiffs to provide detailed evidence of exposure for each named defendant. While Iowa is not known as a hot-spot for asbestos-related lawsuits, Iowa has reportedly seen its fair share of alleged asbestos related deaths.¹ Iowa’s lack of asbestos filings likely comes as a result of the state’s significant tort reform efforts, with SF2337 being the latest addition.