Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment, Holding a Shipbuilder is a Service Provider, Not a Seller of a Product

The plaintiffs alleged that Glenn Hassebrock was exposed to asbestos while working as a union pipefitter at various shipyards.  The defendant shipbuilding company moved for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of the products liability claims on the grounds that the company acted predominantly as a service provider, rather than a distributor of asbestos-containing products.  The court agreed, finding that the shipbuilding company “was not in the chain of manufacturing and selling asbestos related products, rather it was providing the service of producing Navy vessels.  The product is the vessel.  The manufacturers of the asbestos-related installed in the Navy vessels were in a better position to prevent the harm associated with the asbestos product. . . .”

Read the full decision here.