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Court Grants Summary Judgment to Turbine Manufacturer Due to Lack of Causation

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CONNECTICUT – The plaintiff, Patricia Murray, alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from products manufactured or marketed by multiple defendants, including CBS Corporation. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was insufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the decedent was exposed to asbestos from CBS’s products. The motion was unopposed.

The plaintiff’s claims of strict liability, negligence, breach of warranty, and failure to warn all fall under the Connecticut Products Liability Act (CPLA). Causation is an essential element to each of the plaintiff’s claims under the CPLA. To show causation, a plaintiff must prove both actual causation and proximate causation. An actual cause is also a proximate cause only if the actual cause was a substantial factor in bringing about the plaintiff’s injuries. The only evidence that suggested a connection between products manufactured by CBS and the plaintiff’s injury was his reference to Westinghouse in a deposition of the decedent in another case where he recalled seeing GE and Westinghouse and other turbines in the yard on the boats. He could not describe which boats each manufacturer was on.

The court noted that testimony was insufficient to support an inference of causation as it only indicated that many or most of the turbines present at the decedent’s workplace were manufactured by GE and Westinghouse. It did not indicate whether the decedent ever actually worked on a submarine with a Westinghouse turbine, nor did it indicate whether the decedent performed any tasks on a Westinghouse turbine that would have exposed him to respirable asbestos fibers. Therefore, causation, an essential element of all of the plaintiff’s claims, was not met.

Consequently, the court granted CBS’s motion for summary judgment.

Read the case decision here.