Category Archives: Maritime/Admiralty Law

California Appellate Court Holds No Duty for Vessel Owner Based on No Active Control Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, August 11, 2015

In this mesothelioma case, the decedent worked for a vessel repair company and performed repair work on a vessel involving pipe insulation possibly containing asbestos. His estate sued the vessel owner under “both the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, 33 United States Code section 905(b) (the Act, or section 905(b)) and state law.” The vessel owner moved for summary judgment on a number of  grounds, including that it did not actively control the area where the alleged exposure occurred. The lower court granted the…

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General Electric Granted Summary Judgment on the Bare Metal Defense Under Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, June 24, 2015

The plaintiff commenced this action by claiming he was exposed to insulation on General Electric products while in the U.S. Navy. GE moved for summary judgment on three grounds: the government contractor defense, the bare metal defense under maritime law, and on no evidence of GE actually furnishing the component parts. The court ruled that maritime law — rather than New Jersey law — governed the case. The court only addressed the bare metal defense, ruling that GE was entitled to summary judgment: “The Court…

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Granting of Summary Judgment to Defendant Shipping Companies Overturned in Maritime Action, Based on Negligence Standard in Jones Act Superior Court of Pennsylvania, May 18, 2015

In this case brought under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A. 30104, the decedent, Earl Criswell, was allegedly exposed to asbestos during his time as a Merchant Marine aboard various defendants’ vessels. The appellees, Atlantic Richfield Company and Sunoco, Inc. were both granted summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed, arguing that the lower court failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and applied the wrong standard for negligence under the Jones Act. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff’s arguments…

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Lack of Evidence of Exposure to Asbestos-Containing Products Leads to Multiple Defendants Obtaining Summary Judgment Under New Jersey and Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, April 9, 2015

The plaintiff’s decedent, Harold Thomasson, had mesothelioma that was alleged to be a result of his service in the U.S. Navy between 1952 and 1954, and his work as a maintenance man/pipefitter for various employers between 1954 and 1985. The decedent died prior to testifying and 19 defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from any products manufactured or supplied by them. Prior to oral argument, four defendants obtained voluntary dismissals. The remaining 15…

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Applying Admiralty Law, Court Grants Summary Judgment for Lack of Proof That Product Contained Asbestos U.S. District of Washington, Western District of Washington, March 3, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent, Alan McMann, was exposed to asbestos-containing non-skid materials as a bystander that were applied to the deck of the USS Firedrake. Defendant SB Decking, the alleged manufacturer of the non-skid material, moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff did not prove that the non-skid material applied in the decedent’s presence actually contained asbestos. The court initially analyzed the locality and connections tests, concluding that Admiralty Law applied. On the causation issue, the court concluded…

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Grant of Summary Judgment to Defendant Reversed Under the Jones Act and Maritime Law Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, March 3, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff claimed that the decedent was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation and winch brakes aboard various dredges and commercial vessels on which he worked over the years. “[P]laintiff asserted a Jones Act negligence claim under 46 U.S.C.A. § 30104 and a general maritime unseaworthiness claim under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1333.” The defendants, Weeks Marine, Inc. and American Atlantic Company, moved for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff did not establish that he was exposed to asbestos aboard these vessels. The…

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Under Maritime Law, Expert Opinion on Likelihood of Exposure to Original Asbestos Alone Still Insufficient to Establish Causal Connection U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, March 2, 2015

In this case, the defendant, Lockheed, moved for reconsideration of the prior decision from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington that there was sufficient evidence establishing a causal link between original asbestos allegedly installed by Lockheed and decedent John McCrossin’s asbestos exposure. In accordance with five decisions out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the court recognized that under maritime law an expert affidavit alone of likely exposure to original asbestos is insufficient to establish a causal connection. However, the court…

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Dismissal of Asbestos Claims for Lack of Causation Under Connecticut and Maritime Law U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, February 19, 2015

In this case, the plaintiff presented an affidavit of decedent attesting to asbestos exposure, a death certificate confirming the mesothelioma, and co-worker depositions showing that the decedent was generally exposed to asbestos at the Groton Connecticut shipyard while overhauling nuclear submarines. Several defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that while the plaintiff established the decedent’s exposure to asbestos during his career, there was no evidence that causally connected any of that exposure to any of the particular defendants. The court initially ruled that…

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