Valve Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence, March 16, 2021

On June 17, 2011, The plaintiffs filed a complaint, alleging that the decedent, Walter Burdick, died as a result of exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products sold, manufactured, or distributed by the defendants, including NIBCO, Inc. during the decedent’s employment as a laborer, mechanic, maintenance man, boiler operator, pipefitter, machinist, and welder at various steam plants and construction sites throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey beginning in the mid-1940s. 

During discovery, NIBCO deposed the decedent, who testified to having worked …

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Burner Defendant Granted Summary Judgment; No Evidence of Product Nexus

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence

In this matter, the decedent alleged asbestos exposure from his work as a plumbing and heating installer/repairer in the state of Maine from 1949 until 1966. Specific to this motion, the decedent installed Wayne burners, and converted Wayne burners from coal to oil. During this work, the decedent mixed asbestos powder and applied asbestos-containing mud to seal the tube of the burner.

With regard to the choice of law analysis, both parties agreed that Maine law should be applied …

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Boiler Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Product Nexus

Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence, October 27, 2020

The decedent, Gerard Wallace, and his wife, Ruth (the plaintiff) filed a complaint on November 16, 2016 after the decedent was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2016. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent worked as a plumbing-heating installer-repairer from 1949 to 1985. Specifically, the plaintiff argued while the decedent worked in Maine, Crane Co. (the defendant) boilers exposed him to asbestos. Due to the exposures occurring in Maine, the parties agreed that Maine substantive law should …

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Motion to Remand Turbine Manufacturer’s Removal Denied Due to Statements in Settlement Demand Letter

RHODE ISLAND — The plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her husband, Michael Mannix, alleging that his death was caused by exposure to asbestos. She sued CBS, among other defendants, related to his work on ships in the Navy. After years of discovery, the plaintiff’s counsel sent CBS a settlement demand letter in which it was stated that decedent was exposed to asbestos from CBS turbines on the USS Saratoga. CBS promptly removed the case on October 9, 2018, alleging that the statement provided a …

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Plaintiff’s Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Denied with Respect to Two Defendants

The plaintiff filed for voluntary dismissal in order to re-file in the State of Pennsylvania. Various defendants had filed motions to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Two defendants, Evenheat Kiln and Sargent Art, objected to the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss without prejudice. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss with respect to Evenheat and Sargent.

The case had progressed through the discovery phase, and the plaintiff was deposed over six days. Evenheat never contested jurisdiction in Rhode Island. After discovery, both Evenheat and …

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Dissolved Company Failed to Meet Notice Requirements of Statute of Repose

Defendant Grover S. Wormer Company, individually and as successor-in-interest to Wright-Austin Company, brought a motion to dismiss the asbestos litigation filed on behalf of Frank D’Amico in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence.  Wormer originally brought its motion under Super. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) and contended that the plaintiff’s claims for liability are barred under Michigan’s Business Corporation Act Chapter 8 (the BCA), which governs the dissolution of corporations and provides a Statute of Repose to bar continued liability.  The plaintiff did not contest …

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Rhode Island Court Applies Maine Law to Deny Summary Judgment to Insulation Contractor

The plaintiffs alleged negligence and breach of warranty based upon asbestos exposure sustained by decedent during his work at various job sites through the Laborer’s Union from 1969-1990. Defendant New England Insulation Company (NEI) filed a motion for summary judgment based upon various theories, which the court denied.

During his deposition, the decedent testified that he worked as a laborer for general contractors at job sites in Maine.  From 1973-1976 he worked at International Paper Mill around other trades, such as pipefitters and insulators. His …

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Summary Judgment Granted to Valve Manufacturer Based on Insufficient Evidence of Exposure

The plaintiff filed suit in the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence for personal injuries and wrongful death alleging plaintiff’s decedent use of asbestos products with defendant’s valves were foreseeable to the defendant and, under a negligence theory, the defendant failed to warn of the associated hazards.

The defendant moved for summary judgment under Maine Law, to which both parties agreed upon, on November 16, 2016, and argued that the plaintiff failed to offer, and have no reasonable expectation of offering any evidence that plaintiff’s …

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Exception to Boiler Manufacturer’s Bare Metal Defense Found in Denial of Summary Judgment

James Stevens served as a boiler technician aboard the USS Allagash from July 7, 1951 until October 11, 1952. The boilers on the Allagash were manufactured by Foster Wheeler and included asbestos containing materials in their construction. Foster Wheeler additionally provided additional asbestos containing materials to be used in the boilers. Mr. Stevens was diagnosed with mesothelioma and passed away in 2015.

The plaintiffs brought suit against various defendants, including Foster Wheeler, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, alleging Mr. …

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Tennessee Law Applied Over Virginia Law in Case Filed in Rhode Island; Tort Factors and Interest Factors Both Supported Tennessee Law

The plaintiffs alleged both direct and secondary exposure to asbestos by Harold Murray, leading to his development of mesothelioma. Mr. Murray worked in both Tennessee and Virginia. The plaintiffs lived in Tennessee. The defendants filed a motion to apply the law of Tennessee, while the plaintiffs argued for Virginia law. The court ruled that Tennessee was the correct choice of law.

The defendants argued that under Rhode Island choice-of-law principles, Tennessee law applied; the plaintiffs were domiciled in Tennessee, the plaintiff was diagnosed in Tennessee, …

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