On October 7, 2015, the Alameda County Superior Court in California found in favor of defendant John Crane Inc. in an asbestos exposure lawsuit. The plaintiff, James Harkin, had asserted that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos from valve packing manufactured by John Crane Inc. and brought several asbestos-related product liability claims. He further argued that his mesothelioma additionally occurred as a result of working in the presence of Oscar E. Erickson employees while they disturbed asbestos containing materials at an oil refinery.
While the jury agreed that James Harkin was exposed to asbestos from the packing products manufactured by John Crane Inc., they held that the products were not defective in that they failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner. Additionally, they held that the packing did not have potential health risks that were known or reasonably knowable at the time of John Crane Inc.’s manufacture, distribution, or sale of the product. Ultimately, the jury found that John Crane Inc. was not negligent and that James Harkin was not exposed to asbestos by the activities of Oscar E. Erickson Inc. after deliberating for less than three hours.