Federal Court Analyzes New Jersey State Law in Granting Unopposed Summary Judgment Motions of Six Defendants U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, April 8, 2016
In this federal court case, the plaintiff, James McCourt, alleged exposure to asbestos from serving in the Navy (1962-66), working as a pipefitter (1961-62 and 1966-68), home renovations (1952-60), automotive repair work (1959-98), and from the clothing of his father from products manufactured by various defendants. Six defendnats, Guard-Line, Inc., CertainTeed Corporation, Union Carbide Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, PSEG Power, and DAP, Inc., moved for summary judgment.
While the plaintiff did not oppose the defendants’ motions, the court still analyzed each motion under New Jersey law. In granting all six motions, the court held: “Defendants are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiffs have failed to show there is any genuine issue of material fact bearing on each Defendants’ liability. Plaintiffs have not produced any evidence through documentation or deposition testimony that identifies Guard-Line, CertainTeed, Union Carbide, Exxon, PSEG, or DAP as a source of Mr. McCourt’s asbestos exposure. Plaintiffs have thus failed to demonstrate that Defendants manufactured, supplied, or distributed the asbestos-containing products which Mr. McCourt was exposed to on a frequent and regular basis while in a close proximity to it. Accordingly, Plaintiffs cannot establish a prima facie case that any of the Defendants caused or contributed to Mr. McCourt’s illness, and Defendants Guard-Line, CertainTeed, Union Carbide, Exxon, PSEG, and DAP are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.”