WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) – The Delaware Superior Court granted summary judgment Aug. 30 in a pair of asbestos-related cases, with all four decisions favoring the defendants.
Thelma Lempert had filed a complaint against CertainTeed after her husband, Harold Lempert died of lung cancer. Sandra Kivell filed lawsuits against Murphy Oil USA Inc., Air Products and Chemicals Inc. and Union Carbide after her husband, Milton J. Kivell died of lung cancer. Both plaintiffs claimed their husbands contracted mesothelioma, which caused their deaths.
In orders, signed by Judge Calvin L. Scott Jr., the court ruled against those plaintiffs.
In the Lempert case, the court stated that Lempert did not offer any evidence, beyond her late husband’s assumption, that plaster he used that was manufactured by CertainTeed contained asbestos.
“Thus, plaintiff cannot show that Mr. Lempert was exposed to an asbestos product manufactured by defendant,” Scott wrote.
Kivell alleged negligence and strict liability in her cases.
In the case against Murphy Oil, the court determined that Kivell couldn’t offer evidence that the company knew asbestos was being used or that it requested the material be used.
Milton Kivell worked as an independent contractor at a plant owned by Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
The court noted that under Louisiana law, the state where the plant was located, “property owners are not liable for the negligence of an independent contractor” unless they have a contractor doing dangerous work or if they approved the contractor to use an unsafe practice.
Scott wrote that the court found no evidence that Air Products and Chemicals breached any duty owed to Mr. Kivell under state law.
Kivell also named Union Carbide Corp., which owned a petrochemical company at which Milton Kivell worked from 1967 to 1969.
However, Union Carbide maintained that it never directly employed Milton Kivell. He worked through several third-party firms, whom they claim had control over his work area.
Moreover, Union Carbide stated that its employees had no interaction nor did they provide any direction to Milton Kivell.
Citing Roach v. Air Liquide America, the court determined Kivell provided no evidence for a jury to determine that asbestos was present in Union Carbide’s property.
It further ruled Kivell didn’t provide any evidence that Union Carbide beached a duty owned to Milton Kivell under Louisiana law and granted summary judgment on the negligence claim.