Mill Defendant’s Summary Judgment Motions Granted in Community Exposure/Take-Home Case

WISCONSIN –Weyerhauser operated a manufacturing facility in Marshfield, Wisconsin from 1960 to 2000. Among other wood products manufactured at the mill, Weyerhauser produced asbestos-core doors in Marshfield from 1971 to 1978. The plaintiffs’ decedents Elvira Kilty and Herbert Spatz each worked at the Marshfield Weyerhauser mill. Due to the Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation bar, they alleged that their mesothelioma was caused by community exposures and/or household exposures emanating from the clothing of their children and father, respectively, all of whom also worked for Weyerhauser. Weyerhauser moved for summary judgment, which the court granted.

In its analysis, the court noted that the plaintiffs’ experts conceded that the plaintiffs’ occupational exposures were substantially more than any non-occupational exposures, and would have been sufficient to have independently caused decedents’ mesotheliomas. The plaintiffs’ evidence did not provide a reasonable basis for their experts’ opinions supporting the community exposure and take-home theories. The court concluded that there was insufficient evidence showing that the decedents’ relatives were directly exposed to asbestos, much less that a take-home exposure occurred. Further, plaintiffs did not adequately establish that any community exposure occurred given the time period that they lived in proximity to the plant, and due to tenuous anecdotal evidence of alleged pollution from the mill.