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Criswell v. Atlantic Richfield Co.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 18, 2015

TIMOTHY CRISWELL, EXECUTOR OF THE ESTATE OF EARL J. CRISWELL, DEC'D, Appellant
v.
ATLANTIC RICHFIELD COMPANY AND SUNOCO, INC. (R& M), Appellees

Argued: March 18, 2015.

Page 907

Appeal from the Order entered May 27, 2014 of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County, Civil Division, No. 3789 April Term, 2012. Before FOX, J.

Robert E. Paul, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Clinton E. Creasy, Philadelphia, and Joseph P. Fiteni, Morristown, NJ, pro hac vice, for Atlantic Richfield, appellee.

Edmund K. John, Philadelphia, for Sunoco, appellee.

BEFORE: BOWES, DONOHUE and STABILE, JJ. OPINION BY DONOHUE, J.

OPINION

Page 908

DONOHUE, J.:

Timothy Criswell (" Criswell" ), as the executor of the estate of Earl J. Criswell (" Decedent" ), appeals from the orders of court granting summary judgment in favor of appellees Atlantic Richfield Company (" Atlantic" ) and Sunoco, Inc. (" Sunoco" ) (collectively, " Appellees" ). Following our review, we reverse.

This case involves negligence claims brought by Criswell under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C.A. § 30104,[1] against multiple defendants, claiming that exposure to asbestos during his time as a member of the Merchant Marine caused him to develop lung cancer. Specifically, Criswell alleges negligence on the part of Appellees because they required Decedent to work with asbestos aboard their vessels when they knew it was hazardous to his health and they did not warn him of this danger. Following the close of discovery, all defendants moved for summary judgment. Relevant to this appeal, Appellees sought summary judgment on the basis that Criswell could not prove exposure to asbestos on their ships. Atlantic's Motion for Summary Judgment, 3/11/14, at 1; Sunoco's Motion for Summary Judgment, 3/11/14, at 1. The trial court granted Atlantic's and Sunoco's motions for summary judgment only. The claims against the remaining defendants were settled prior to trial. Criswell then filed this timely appeal, in which he presents the following two issues for our review:[2]

1. Did the [trial] court err by disregarding evidence of [] Decedent's extensive exposure to asbestos insulation while serving as a merchant seaman aboard [Appellees'] tankers?
2. Did the [trial] court err when it held that [Criswell] had failed to prove [Appellees] " negligent, however slight" under the Jones Act?

Criswell's Brief at 4.

We begin with our standard ...


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