News & Updates

Valve Manufacturer's Appeal on Summary Judgment Denied on Foreseeable Use of Asbestos-Containing Component Parts Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, June 12, 2015

In this case, it is alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos gaskets and packing in valves manufactured by Crane Co., while working at an industrial plant from 1956 to 1982. Crane appealed from the lower court’s denial of its motion for summary judgment and the Fourth Department affirmed the decision.
 
In its appeal, Crane alleged that it could not be liable for failure to warn of the dangers associated with asbestos, since it did not produce or sell the asbestos-containing component parts. The lower court disagreed and held: “It is well established that ‘a plaintiff may recover in strict products liability or negligence when a manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings regarding the use of its product ....A manufacturer has a duty to warn against latent dangers resulting from foreseeable uses of its products of which it knew or should have known’ (Rastelli, 79 NY2d at 297). Although the Court of Appeals determined that, under the facts presented in Rastelli, defendant Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co was not liable for failing to warn about the potential dangers of mounting the tire on a multipiece rim, we conclude that the same result is not mandated here (see New York City Asbestos Litig., 121 AD3d at 252). Even assuming, arguendo, that defendant met its initial burden of establishing that its valves did not require components containing asbestos in order to perform as intended, we conclude that plaintiff raised an issue of fact whether defendant knew that components that did not contain asbestos would be unable to withstand the heat for the intended purpose of the valve when used in high pressure steam lines, that it intended that component parts containing asbestos would be used for that purpose, and thus that the exposure to asbestos when replacing those components to ensure that the valves functioned properly was foreseeable (see generally Rastelli, 79 NY2d at 297). Defendant’s reliance on our decision in Matter of Eighth Jud. Dist. Asbestos Litg. (92 AD3d 1259, 1260, lv denied 19 NY3d 803) is misplaced, because in that case there was no evidence that the valves required external insulation or that defendant knew that external insulation would be used (see New York City Asbestos Litig., 121 AD3d at 249; cf. Berkowitz v A.C. & S., Inc., 288 AD2d 148, 149).”

Read the full decision here.

 If you have questions about how this decision may impact your business, please contact:

 

Files