Pump Defendant Granted Summary Judgment Based on Lack of Proximate Exposure United States District Court, W.D. Washington, October 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – In a case extensively covered by the Asbestos Case Tracker, the court granted the summary judgment motion of pump defendant Ingersoll-Rand. Rudie Klopman-Baerselman, the decedent, alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos through his work on equipment while he served in the Merchant Marines. As proof of exposure, the plaintiff had produced documents indicating the presence of Ingersoll-Rand pumps and compressors aboard ships on which the decedent served, as well as expert reports opining that he would have been exposed to asbestos from insulation associated with the pumps. In response to Ingersoll-Rand’s summary judgment motion, the plaintiff submitted an expert report from Susan Raterman who stated that the decedent would have also been exposed to asbestos from gaskets on Ingersoll-Rand pumps at Tektronix, where the decedent had worked as a laborer for 31 years. The plaintiff had previously removed allegations of asbestos exposure at Tektronix from their complaint, but argued that they should be permitted to amend their complaint to add these claims in their response to Ingersoll-Rand’s motion.

The court applied Washington law and favorably assessed the Lockwood factors for Ingersoll-Rand. They determined that the evidence did not show that the decedent was proximate to any asbestos-containing product for which Ingersoll-Rand was responsible, nor to what extent of time the decedent may have been exposed to asbestos from Ingersoll-Rand equipment. With regards to the exposure at Tektronix, they stated that “summary judgment is not a procedural second chance to flesh out inadequate pleadings.”

Read the case decision here.

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