Plaintiff Paul M. Moutal was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 1999 and alleged that his lung cancer resulted from exposure to asbestos from his time as a handyman, laborer, and carpenter in the 1960s and 1970s. During his discovery deposition, the plaintiff identified various products that allegedly contained asbestos, including floor tiles manufactured by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. With regard to Goodyear floor tiles, the plaintiff alleged that he was exposed to asbestos from cutting, heating, and installing the floor tiles.
Goodyear sought summary judgment dismissing the claims against it. First, Goodyear asserted that the plaintiff could not establish that he worked with Goodyear-branded floor tiles, as the plaintiff never saw the Goodyear name on the tiles themselves or had any role in purchasing the floor tiles. The plaintiff, however, asserted that he knew he was working with Goodyear-branded floor tiles because the box that contained the floor tiles said “Goodyear.” The plaintiff also provided some descriptive features of the floor tiles. Based on this, the court found that the plaintiff had personal knowledge of working with floor tiles manufactured by Goodyear.
Goodyear also argued that the plaintiff could not establish that Goodyear floor tiles contained asbestos, because the Goodyear-branded floor tiles described by the plaintiff matched the description of “Deluxe-On-Grade” floor tiles, which did not contain asbestos. Moreover, Goodyear argued that the only type of floor tile that it manufactured that did contain asbestos was “Heavy-Duty-Homogeneous” floor tiles, which contained marbleized patterns and had a light bottom. The plaintiff testified that the Goodyear-branded floor tiles that he worked with had a dark bottom and he could not recall if the floor tiles had a pattern. Despite this, the court held that Goodyear merely pointed to gaps in the plaintiff’s evidence and did not proffer evidence to establish that the plaintiff only worked with non-asbestos containing floor tiles that it manufactured. As a result, the court denied Goodyear’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
Read the full decision here.