• Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Products Liability Action
• Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Asbestos Case
Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Products Liability Action
Partner Florence McClain and associate Elizabeth Branham in the San Francisco office obtained summary judgment for the firm's client in a products liability action venued in the San Francisco Superior Court.
The plaintiff was a former career drywall installer who worked at various job sites throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Plaintiff claimed that during the 1960s and 1970s, he worked at job sites controlled by the firm's client, a general contractor, at which he was exposed to asbestos and subsequently developed an asbestos-related disease. WFBM propounded written discovery on behalf of its client and defended its client's interests during plaintiff's deposition. Based on information elicited, WFBM filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of its client addressing plaintiff's claims and arguing that plaintiff did not meet his burden of production because he failed to identify any evidence supporting his claim that he was ever exposed to asbestos from work performed at any job site controlled by the firm's client.
The motion was heard by the Honorable Judge Teri L. Jackson. After hearing oral arguments, Judge Jackson granted WFBM's motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff's complaint against the firm's client. Judge Jackson found that plaintiff had not and could not prove that any products or materials used at any job site controlled by the firm's client contained asbestos based on evidence from written discovery and the plaintiff's deposition testimony, and thus, plaintiff could not prove that he developed an asbestos-related injury for which the firm's client could be held liable.
Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in Asbestos Case
On April 9, 2012, associate Elizabeth L. Huynh and partners Florence A. McClain and Thomas G. Scully obtained summary judgment for the firm's client, a general contractor-defendant in a living mesothelioma asbestos case. The plaintiff, a career wallpaper salesman, had testified that he recalled that the client was a predominant general contractor at hundreds of sites at which he had worked over his multi-decade career.
The plaintiff maintained that the general contractor was liable for the work of drywallers who had disturbed asbestos-containing drywall materials in his presence. Ms. Huynh was able to elicit testimony during the plaintiff's deposition to show that even if the client was the general contractor on the site, the plaintiff lacked evidence that the general contractor controlled the site in any way that affirmatively contributed to plaintiff's injury. This evidence formed the basis of the client's successful motion for summary judgment, which was premised on the legal argument that the client owed plaintiff no duty.
For more information, please see the Privette line of cases, discussed in recent WFBM newsletters: Vol 11, Issue 1 (Premises Owners' Duty of Care to Independent Contractors' Employees) and in Vol 10, Issue 3 (Recent Developments: Tort Immunity For Hirers of Independent Contractors Reaffirmed).