Union Carbide Obtains Summary Judgment Due to Speculative Evidence Superior Court of Delaware, April 24, 2019

DELAWARE — The plaintiff, Jane Rowland, alleged she developed mesothelioma from washing her husband’s clothes. Her husband performed home remodeling projects in Ohio in the 1970s using Georgia-Pacific joint compound. the plaintiff alleged that Union Carbide was responsible for her injuries because it supplied asbestos to Georgia-Pacific for use in its joint compound. Specifically, Union Carbide supplied Calidria asbestos to Georgia-Pacific.

The plaintiff argued in opposition to Union Carbide’s Motion for summary judgment that there was evidence that Georgia-Pacific’s Chicago plant distributed to the Midwest, including Ohio.  Second, the plaintiff argued that Georgia-Pacific formula cards demonstrated several joint compound mixtures contained Calidria asbestos supplied by Union Carbide. In response, Union Carbide offered evidence that there were seven available joint compound formulas during the relevant time frame, and only two contained the Calidria asbestos. There was also evidence that Georgia-Pacific obtained the majority of its asbestos from another supplier.

The court found that the plaintiff could not satisfy her affirmative duty to offer evidence which creates a reasonable basis for establishing that products her husband worked with actually contained asbestos from Union Carbide. As such, a reasonable jury could not find in favor of the plaintiff absent pure speculation, and summary judgment was entered in favor of Union Carbide.

The case summary is provided with permission of Westlaw here.

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