Gasket Manufacturer’s Motion for Summary Judgment Denied Based on Residual Market

NEW YORK — The plaintiff’s Decedent Joseph Tolan allegedly worked with asbestos-containing gaskets, including sheet gaskets, manufactured by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (Goodyear) starting in 1977 at the United States Army’s Seneca, NY Depot. Goodyear filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that it ceased making asbestos-containing gaskets in 1969. Goodyear further argued that it had no sales of asbestos-containing gaskets to the Depot.  Goodyear continued to make non-asbestos gaskets after 1969, and they had similar markings and logos to the asbestos-containing versions. Goodyear Canada Incorporated, a totally separate corporation with its principle place of business in Canada, continued to make asbestos-containing gaskets until 1973, but that entity was not sued, and Goodyear stated it would have made a successful personal jurisdiction argument because there is “absolutely no proof in the record that any Goodyear Canada product made its way to the Army Seneca Depot.”

The plaintiff countered, arguing that Goodyear, “have provided absolutely no evidence that there were any efforts made to remove any of the residual asbestos-containing sheet gasket material from anyplace, so why can’t he still be working with it.” The plaintiff described the Goodyear asbestos-containing sheet gasket material, “exactly the same way they do in their answers to Interrogatories, in their bulletins and in their marketing materials.” The plaintiff pointed to the First Department’s “longstanding recognition of the residual usage of products” and stated “just because they stopped in 1969 doesn’t mean it was still not available for use in 1977.”

The court agreed with the plaintiffs, and denied Goodyear’s Motion.

Read the full case decision here.