Summary Judgment Affirmed in Favor of Insulation Suppliers Based Upon Lack of Product Identification Circuit Court for Baltimore County, November 20, 2017
MARYLAND — The Circuit Court for Baltimore County affirmed the entry of summary judgment for two insulation suppliers-installers in a mesothelioma case arising from Bethlehem Steel’s Key Highway Shipyard (KHS), agreeing that the plaintiffs failed to present evidence linking the plaintiff to the products or employees of the insulation defendants. The evidence demonstrated that MCIC, Inc. (formerly the McCormick Asbestos Company) and Wallace & Gale Settlement Trust (formerly the Wallace & Gale Company) both supplied and installed insulation at KHS during the plaintiff’s years of employment at the shipyard.
A co-worker testified that the plaintiff worked on all the ships at KHS, but during oral argument, the plaintiff’s counsel conceded that this testimony meant the plaintiff worked on most of the ships, not all of them. Other co-workers testified about the prominence of the various insulation suppliers-installers at KHS, but there was no evidence demonstrating that either products or employees of McCormick or Wallace & Gale were in plaintiff’s presence on a particular ship. Specifically, the court stated “[t]he Appellants put on no evidence addressing whether, if McCormick or W&G were performing work on the same ship as Mr. Davenport, they were working in the same location or at the same time. Based upon the evidence presented, there is simply no way, absent sheer speculation, to reach the inference suggested by the Appellants.” Finding the evidence did not meet the applicable regular, proximate and frequent product identification standard, the Circuit Court affirmed the entry of summary judgment for McCormick and Wallace & Gale.