U.S. District Court for the District of Washington, May 6, 2019

WASHINGTON — The plaintiff, Donald Varney, filed suit against numerous defendants alleging exposure to asbestos while working as a marine machinist at shipyards in Washington caused his mesothelioma. The complaint was removed to federal court. The day before he passed, the plaintiff signed an affidavit stating that he worked with various defendants’ products or products supplied by the defendants, including those of Crosby Valves, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, Foster Wheeler, Air and Liquid Systems and John Crane, Inc. The plaintiff was not deposed before he passed. 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 therefore the opinion were inadmissible. Accordingly, the defendants argued that the plaintiff had no evidence of exposure to asbestos from their products.The court applied the Lockwood standard 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 Crosby Valves, Good year Tire and Rubber, Foster Wheeler, Air and Liquid Systems and John Crane, Inc.

The case summary is provided with permission of Westlaw here.