California Court Holds Refractory Contractor Established Insufficient Evidence of Exposure and Grants Summary Judgment

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The plaintiff commenced this wrongful death claim alleging the decedent was exposed to asbestos while J.T. Thorpe & Sons was performing refractory work around boilers. Thorpe moved for summary judgment on the ground that there was insufficient evidence decedent was actually in the vicinity of Thorpe employees working with refractory materials. The court concluded that the plaintiff has some threshold burden of establishing some factual basis for exposure and that Thorpe met it initial burden that there was insufficient evidence of exposure: “Thorpe has satisfied its initial burden of production on summary judgment by showing that Plaintiffs have insufficient evidence of an essential element of their case — i.e., that Mr. Walashek was exposed to asbestos-containing products as a result of activity by Thorpe. ‘In the context of a cause of action for asbestos-related latent injuries, the plaintiff must first establish some threshold exposure to the defendant’s defective asbestos-containing products, and must further establish in reasonable medical probability that a particular exposure or series of exposures was a “legal cause” of his injury, i.e., a substantial factor in bringing about the injury.'”

Read the full decision here.