Assertion of Innocent Seller Defense Leads to Dismissal of Auto Supplier in Mesothelioma Matter

MISSISSIPPI — The plaintiff filed suit against A-1 Auto Parts and Repair (A-1) alleging he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos from his work as a mechanic and exposure to talcum powder. A-1 moved for dismissal under Federal Rule 12 (b) 6 arguing that it was an “innocent seller” under Mississippi Products Liability Law (MPLA). The plaintiff did not respond or oppose the motion. The MPLA states that a seller shall not be liable for claims unless the “seller or designer exercised substantial control over the aspect of the design, testing, manufacture, packaging or labeling of the product that caused the harm for which recovery of damages is sought; or the seller or designer altered or modified the product, and the alteration or modification was a substantial factor in causing the harm for which recovery of damages is sought; or the seller or designer had actual or constructive knowledge of the defective condition of the product at the time he supplied the product. It is the intent of this section to immunize sellers who are not actively negligent, but instead are mere conduits of a product.” The court also noted that the plaintiff’s claims against A-1 were lacking in specificity.

The court granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice and noted that the plaintiff may want to amend the complaint to avoid final dismissal.

Only the WestLaw citation is currently available at 2019 WL 545228.