388 Mass. 171 (1983), Olsen v. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

Citation388 Mass. 171, 445 N.E.2d 609
Party NameOlaf K. OLSEN et al. [ 1] v. BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES, INC. et al. [ 2] Western Electric Company, third-party defendant.
Case DateFebruary 15, 1983
CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 171

388 Mass. 171 (1983)

445 N.E.2d 609

Olaf K. OLSEN et al. 1

v.

BELL TELEPHONE LABORATORIES, INC. et al. 2 Western Electric Company, third-party defendant.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

February 15, 1983

Argued Oct. 8, 1982.

[445 N.E.2d 610] Henry T. Dunker, Jr., Boston, for plaintiffs.

Cynthia J. Cohen, Boston, for N.L. Industries, Inc.

Edward Woll, Jr., Boston (Frank J. Bailey, Boston, with him), for Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.

Before HENNESSEY, C.J., and WILKINS, LIACOS, NOLAN and O'CONNOR, JJ.

Page 172

O'CONNOR, Justice.

The plaintiffs, Olaf K. Olsen (Olsen) and Virginia N. Olsen, commenced this action on June 30, 1980. The complaint alleges that Olsen contracted asthma from exposure to a substance known as TDI 3 in the course of his employment by Western Electric Company, due to negligence and breach of implied warranties on the part of the defendants. The condition is claimed to be permanent. The Olsens allege that N.L. Industries, Inc., being the successor to the company that supplied TDI to Western Electric Company is liable to them, and that Bell telephone Laboratories, Inc. (Bell Labs), by recommending its use is also liable. Damages are sought by Olsen for personal injuries and by Virginia N. Olsen for loss of consortium.

The defendants filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), 365 Mass. 754 (1974). Numerous affidavits and counter affidavits were filed, as well as interrogatories and answers thereto, and responses to requests to admit facts. The motions were treated as motions for summary judgment under Mass.R.Civ.P. 56, 365 Mass. 824 (1974), as provided in Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b). No issue is raised regarding the propriety of this procedure. The plaintiffs appeal from the allowance of the motions. We allowed the parties' request for direct appellate review. Since the plaintiffs have neither briefed nor argued the issue whether the warranty claims are barred, the only issue before us on appeal is whether their claims for negligence and loss of consortium are barred by the statute of limitations, G.L. c. 260, § 2A. We hold that the plaintiffs' claims are barred and we affirm the judgments.

The following facts were established by the pleadings, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits. Mass.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Olsen was employed by Western Electric Company from October, 1961, until February, 1974, when he became an inactive employee on sick leave. From 1961 to 1972, he worked in the transformer potting and encapsulating

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department. His responsibilities included engineering the process for potting and encapsulating transformers. Sometime, about 1962, he requested Bell Labs to recommend a compound for potting transformers that would require less curing time and would enable the production of transformers at a faster rate. Bell Labs recommended a compound containing TDI. Western Electric Company purchased the compound from Baker Castor Oil Co., the predecessor to N.L. Industries, Inc. The compound was used in Olsen's department from 1964 to 1972.

[445 N.E.2d 611] Olsen was exposed to TDI from 1964 to April, 1972, although his exposure was greatly reduced beginning in March, 1970. Olsen had experienced symptoms associated with TDI asthma as early as 1968. These symptoms had become severe enough by March, 1970, that he...

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129 practice notes
  • 628 F.Supp. 1219 (D.Mass. 1986), Civ. A. 82-1672, Anderson v. W.R. Grace & Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • 3 Enero 1986
    ...stems from an interpretation of the word "accrues" in these statutes. See, e.g., Olsen v. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 445 N.E.2d 609, 611 (1983) (As the statutes "[do] not direct when the period of limitation begins to run, that determination is for the ......
  • 494 A.2d 1307 (D.C. 1985), 84-833, Stager v. Schneider
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 28 Junio 1985
    ...§ 125 at 931-34. [11] Indeed the same period of limitations has been held applicable. See Olsen v. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983); Titze v. Miller, 337 N.W.2d 176Both before and after Sutherland, Pennsylvania has rejected its rationale. See Sartori v......
  • 29 Mass.App.Ct. 215 (1990), 89-P-565, International Mobiles Corp. v. Corroon & Black/Fairfield & Ellis, Inc.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 14 Septiembre 1990
    ...the extent of the injury Page 218 need not be ascertainable at the time of the accrual of the action. Olsen v. Bell Tel. Labs., Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 175, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983). Massachusetts Elec. Co. v. Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, P.C., 394 Mass. 265, 268-269, 475 N.E.2d 390 (1985). Ca......
  • 29 Mass.App.Ct. 440 (1990), 89-P-150, Hanson Housing Authority v. Dryvit System, Inc.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 23 Octubre 1990
    ...a cause of action, the fixed time period of statutes of limitations effectively would be destroyed." Olsen v. Bell Tel. Labs., Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 175, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983). This court has stated that the discovery rule starts a limitations period running "when a reasonably prud......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
129 cases
  • 628 F.Supp. 1219 (D.Mass. 1986), Civ. A. 82-1672, Anderson v. W.R. Grace & Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 1st Circuit United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • 3 Enero 1986
    ...stems from an interpretation of the word "accrues" in these statutes. See, e.g., Olsen v. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 445 N.E.2d 609, 611 (1983) (As the statutes "[do] not direct when the period of limitation begins to run, that determination is for the ......
  • 494 A.2d 1307 (D.C. 1985), 84-833, Stager v. Schneider
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • 28 Junio 1985
    ...§ 125 at 931-34. [11] Indeed the same period of limitations has been held applicable. See Olsen v. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983); Titze v. Miller, 337 N.W.2d 176Both before and after Sutherland, Pennsylvania has rejected its rationale. See Sartori v......
  • 29 Mass.App.Ct. 215 (1990), 89-P-565, International Mobiles Corp. v. Corroon & Black/Fairfield & Ellis, Inc.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 14 Septiembre 1990
    ...the extent of the injury Page 218 need not be ascertainable at the time of the accrual of the action. Olsen v. Bell Tel. Labs., Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 175, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983). Massachusetts Elec. Co. v. Fletcher, Tilton & Whipple, P.C., 394 Mass. 265, 268-269, 475 N.E.2d 390 (1985). Ca......
  • 29 Mass.App.Ct. 440 (1990), 89-P-150, Hanson Housing Authority v. Dryvit System, Inc.
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • 23 Octubre 1990
    ...a cause of action, the fixed time period of statutes of limitations effectively would be destroyed." Olsen v. Bell Tel. Labs., Inc., 388 Mass. 171, 175, 445 N.E.2d 609 (1983). This court has stated that the discovery rule starts a limitations period running "when a reasonably prud......
  • Request a trial to view additional results