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Delaware judge: Not enough evidence provided by widow in asbestos lawsuit against Union Carbide

Asbestos

By Marian Johns | Aug 28, 2019

Smithpatrick
Smith

WILMINGTON, Del. (Legal Newsline) – A Delaware court has ruled that a woman whose husband allegedly died from asbestos exposure injuries did not offer enough proof in her case against Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) and granted UCC's motion for summary judgment.

According to the Aug. 15 ruling in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, UCC filed a motion for a summary judgment against the plaintiff Marianne Robinson, as personal representative for the estate of Jack Robinson. Jack Robinson was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2016 and later died.

"On balance, there is no question that evidence of record supports an inference that there was a possibility of exposure to UCC’s asbestos," Judge Jeffrey Clark wrote in the Superior Court's decision. 

"However, Ms. Robinson has not stepped forward with evidence supporting a reasonable inference that there was a probability of exposure to UCC’s asbestos at any period of time relevant to this claim. Under these facts of record, the trier of fact would be forced to speculate regarding this material issue of fact. That decision cannot be left to speculation."

Robinson claims that between 1971 and 1982, her late husband used Georgia-Pacific's joint compounds at least 10 times. The ruling states UCC mined a milled a short-fiber asbestos variety it called Calidria from 1963 to 1985 that it sold to manufacturers for consumer products, including some Georgia-Pacific's joint compounds.

In her suit, Robinson argues UCC is liable and had a duty to warn consumers. The suit also brought out internal Georgia-Pacific documents that show the company was aware of the asbestos dangers, according to the Superior Court filing. 

"Based upon the facts of record, there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding Georgia-Pacific’s status as a sophisticated intermediary," Clark wrote. "Nor are there genuine issues of material fact regarding the sufficiency of UCC’s warnings to Georgia-Pacific, or UCC’s reasonable reliance upon Georgia-Pacific to warn Mr. Robinson. Accordingly, UCC had no duty to warn Mr. Robinson about the dangers of UCC’s bulk asbestos product."

The plaintiff is represented by Patrick Smith of Balick & Balick LLC and the defendant is represented by Joseph Naylor of Swartz Campbell LLC, both of Wilmington, Delaware.

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Union Carbide CorporationDelaware Superior Court

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