In two separate decisions, Crane Co. was granted summary judgment on different grounds in two federal court cases. In the first, a Southern District case, Crane moved on the grounds that the plaintiffs could not show that the decedent, Michael Walashek, was exposed to asbestos from any of its products. In support of its motion, Crane relied on the plaintiffs’ interrogatory responses where they failed to identify any specific documents supporting the claimed exposure against Crane.
In granting the motion, the court held that Crane had “satisfied its initial burden of production on summary judgment by showing that Plaintiffs have insufficient evidence of an essential element of their case — i.e., that Mr. Walashek was exposed to Crane Co.’s asbestos-containing product. Therefore, the burden shifts to Plaintiffs, who must produce enough evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact. Plaintiffs have not submitted any evidence in opposition to the motion and have instead filed a notice of non-opposition. Therefore, the Court GRANTS Crane Co.’s motion for summary judgment against Plaintiffs.” (Citations omitted.)
In the Central District case, Crane had previously moved for summary judgment while its Daubert motion to exclude expert testimony was still pending. The court denied the motion without prejudice, stating that Crane would win summary judgment if its Daubert motion was granted. Crane subsequently won its Daubert challenge and renewed its summary judgment motion. In granting it, the court held: “The Court’s two chief statements relevant to the prior motion – that the experts’ testimony was inadmissible and that Crane Co. would be entitled to summary judgment if it prevailed on its Daubert motion – were both based on a careful consideration of the record and of the briefing from both sides. The plaintiffs’ attempt to revivify previously rejected arguments does nothing to persuade the Court to depart from its earlier statements and rulings. Accordingly, the Court DENIES the plaintiffs’ motion for clarification or reconsideration of the Daubert ruling and GRANTS Crane Co.’s renewed motion for summary judgment.”