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Valve Manufacturer Succeeds on Motion for Summary Judgement

Jurisdiction: Supreme Court of New York, New York County

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit alleging decedent suffered asbestos exposure from numerous product manufacturers during the course of his employment as a mechanic for Con Ed from 1974 to 2012. Prior to his passing, decedent was deposed. Defendant Crosby Valves filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that decedent was not exposed to asbestos from any Crosby product. Specifically, the defendant referenced decedent’s testimony regarding the use of flange gaskets in connection with Crosby valves, but not actually manufactured by Crosby. Defendant provided evidence that such gaskets were not required for the use of their valves, defendant never recommended such use and defendant did not manufacture or supply the gaskets with their valves. 

In opposition to defendant’s motion, plaintiff argued decedent’s testimony was clear in identifying Crosby as a manufacturer of valves which exposed decedent to asbestos in his work.

Summary judgment is a drastic remedy and should only be granted if the moving party has sufficiently established that it is warranted as a matter of law. See Alvarez v. Prospect Hosp., 68 NY2d 320, 324 (1986). “The proponent of a summary judgment motion must make a prima facie showing of entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, tendering sufficient evidence to eliminate any material issues of fact from the case”. Winegrad v. New York University Medical Center, 64 NY2d 851, 853 (1985). 

Here, the court held plaintiff failed to raise an issue of fact sufficient to defeat summary judgment. Plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that defendant was actively involved in the manufacture or specified the use of the asbestos gaskets at issue, or that defendant substantially participated in integrating such gaskets with its valves. Thus, defendant’s motion was granted. 

Read the full decision here.