Valve Manufacturer Granted Summary Judgment on Appeal Because Salvage/Demolition Not Foreseeable Use of Product

In this NYCAL case, the plaintiff alleged that his development of peritoneal mesothelioma was a result of his exposure to asbestos in the 1980s from dismantling and salvaging scrap metal from steam systems in vacant buildings. The lower court denied the motion for summary judgment by the defendant, valve manufacturer Powell Company. On appeal, the appellate division addressed whether dismantling constitutes a reasonably foreseeable use of a product and reversed the lower court’s decision.

In its ruling, the court looked at rulings in other jurisdictions and held: “We find these decisions persuasive. To recover for injuries caused by a defective product, the defect must have been a substantial factor in causing the injury, and ‘the product must have been used for the purpose and in the manner normally intended or in a manner reasonably foreseeable’ (Hartnett v Chanel, Inc., 97 AD3d 416, 419 [1st Dept 2012], lv denied 19 NY3d 814 [2012] [citation omitted]). As the plaintiff did not use Powell’s manufactured product in a reasonably foreseeable manner and his salvage work was not an intended use of the product, the complaint should have been dismissed.”

Read the full decision here.