The Wannall, Honeywell, Asbestos & Mesothelioma case documents what many brake mechanics, Navy veterans and others may face today – past potential direct and secondary exposure to asbestos and mesothelioma. The court ruled on the motion.
A brief summary of the facts include:
- Shortly after he was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos, John Tyler and his wife filed this action seeking damages from various companies that manufactured products containing asbestos that he had been exposed to. Tyler died.
- He was replaced in the litigation by the representative of his estate, Stephen Wannall; his wife, though initially a co-plaintiff, dropped out of the case and does not join this appeal. (In this opinion we refer to “plaintiff” in the singular throughout.) Appellee Honeywell International, Inc. was named in the lawsuit as the successor-in-interest to the Bendix Corporation, which manufactured brake shoes that Tyler had used in helping friends, family, and neighbors perform automobile repairs over 50 years.
- At the close of discovery set by the district court, Honeywell moved for summary judgment, contending that the plaintiff had failed to establish the causal link required under Virginia law between Tyler’s exposure to Bendix brakes and his disease. (The parties agree that Virginia law governs.)
- Honeywell argued that Tyler had also been exposed to asbestos during his decades-long service in the United States Navy and so could not show that the Bendix brake shoes proximately caused him to contract mesothelioma. The district court denied the motion, and found that the declaration of the plaintiff’s expert, Dr. Steven Markowitz, raised a genuine issue of fact by stating that Tyler’s exposure to Bendix brakes was a “substantial” cause of his illness.
To find out more on the case, see Case No. 13-7185 – December 30, 2014.
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