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Lois Jean Conner v. Alfa Laval

February 1, 2012

LOIS JEAN CONNER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALFA LAVAL, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
JAMES H. PRANGE, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALFA LAVAL, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
JAMES W. STONE, ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ALFA LAVAL, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

CONSOLIDATED UNDER MDL-875
Transferred from the Central District of California : Case No. 09-06698) Transferred from the Central District of California (Case No. 09-02317) Transferred from the Northern District of California (Case No. 09-02327)

MEMORANDUM

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. BACKGROUND ............................................... 5

II. LEGAL STANDARD ........................................... 8

III. DISCUSSION ............................................... 9

A. Products-Liability Theories Under Maritime Law....... 9

B. Defendants' Liability Under Maritime Law............ 11

C. Plaintiffs' Arguments............................... 22

D. Application......................................... 25

IV. CONCLUSION .............................................. 26

Before the Court are Defendants' motions for summary judgment*fn1 in the above-captioned cases, all of which are part of MDL-875, the consolidated asbestos products liability multidistrict litigation pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Defendants move for summary judgment on the ground that they are not liable for injuries caused by asbestos products, such as insulation, gaskets, and packing, that were incorporated into their products or used as replacement parts, but which they did not manufacture or distribute.*fn2

Having determined that the instant cases are governed by maritime law,*fn3 see Conner v. Alfa Laval, Inc., No. 09-67099, 2011 WL 3101810 (E.D. Pa. July 22, 2011) (Robreno, J.), the Court now considers whether, under maritime law, Defendants are liable for injuries caused by asbestos products manufactured by others but used with Defendants' products.*fn4

I.BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs allege that Robert Conner, James Prange, and James Stone ("Decedents") developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to Defendants' asbestos-containing products while working on vessels operated by the U.S. Navy. Specifically, Mr. Conner alleges he was exposed to asbestos products used with General Electric Company's ("GE's") turbines while he served in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1971 aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown. GE manufactured marine turbines that required exterior insulation, which likely would have contained asbestos, and that required asbestos-containing gaskets to seal the turbines to adjoining equipment and piping. In some instances, GE originally supplied gaskets to the Navy along with its turbines.

Mr. Prange alleges he was exposed to asbestos used with products manufactured by IMO Industries ("IMO"), GE, Buffalo Pumps, Inc. ("Buffalo"), Foster Wheeler, L.L.C. ("Foster Wheeler"), Warren Pumps, L.L.C., ("Warren"), and Crane Co. ("Crane"), while serving in the U.S. Navy from 1965 to 1969 aboard the U.S.S. Pollux and U.S.S. Delta. Defendants manufactured turbines, pumps, boilers, and valves that used and, in some ...


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