United States District Court, W.D. Washington, at Tacoma, May 22, 2019

WASHINGTON – As reported on the Asbestos Case Tracker on May 6, 2019, in Varney v. Air & Liquid Systems Corporation, et al., the court ruled on several defendants’ motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff, Donald Varney, filed suit against numerous defendants alleging exposure to asbestos while working as a marine machinist at multiple shipyards in Washington caused his mesothelioma. The complaint was removed to federal court. One day before he passed away, the plaintiff signed an affidavit stating that he worked with various defendants’ products or products supplied by the defendants, including Ingersoll-Rand. The affidavit did not include any identification of products manufactured by Air & Liquid Systems Corporation (A&L) or Velan. The plaintiff was not deposed before he passed away. The plaintiff’s expert, Dr. John Maddox, relied on the affidavit in opining that the plaintiff’s mesothelioma was caused by his asbestos exposure.

Following summary judgment motions filed by numerous defendants, the court held a two-day mini-trial to determine the admissibility of the affidavit and Dr. Maddox’s opinion. The court held that the affidavit and the opinion were inadmissible. The defendants argued that the plaintiff had no evidence of exposure to asbestos from their products. The court applied the standard set forth in Lockwood v. AC & S, Inc., 109 Wn. 2d 235, 245–47 (1987) and agreed with the defendants’ positions, ruling that there was insufficient evidence for a jury to find that causation has been established. Summary judgment was therefore entered in favor of Ingersoll-Rand, A&L, and Velan.

The case summary is provided with permission from Westlaw here.