Whelan v. Armstrong International Inc., 060320 NJSC, A-40-18
|Docket Nº:||A-40-18, A-41-18, A-42-18, A-43-18, A-44-18, A-45-18, A-46-18|
|Opinion Judge:||ALBIN, JUSTICE|
|Party Name:||Arthur G. Whelan, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Armstrong International Inc.; Burnham LLC; Carrier Corp., individually, d/b/a and as successor to Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems; Cleaver- Brooks Inc.; Crown Boiler Co., f/k/a Crown Industries Inc.; Ford Motor Co.; Johnson Controls Inc., individually, d/b/a and as successor to Evcon Industries Inc....|
|Attorney:||Sean Marotta argued the cause for appellant Ford Motor Co. (Hogan Lovells U.S. and K&L Gates, attorneys; Sean Marotta, Joseph F. Lagrotteria, and Adam G. Husik, on the briefs). Karen J. Stanzione-Conte argued the cause for appellants Cleaver-Brooks Inc. and Crown Boiler Co. (Reilly, McDevitt & He...|
|Judge Panel:||ALBIN, J., writing for the Court. JUSTICE PATTERSON, dissenting, CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER and JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, SOLOMON, and TIMPONE join in JUSTICE ALBIN's opinion. JUSTICE PATTERSON filed a dissent, in which JUSTICE FERNANDEZ-VINA joins. CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER and JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, SOLOMON, and T...|
|Case Date:||June 03, 2020|
|Court:||Supreme Court of New Jersey|
Argued November 19, 2019
On certification to the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 455 N.J.Super. 569 (App. Div. 2018).
Sean Marotta argued the cause for appellant Ford Motor Co. (Hogan Lovells U.S. and K&L Gates, attorneys; Sean Marotta, Joseph F. Lagrotteria, and Adam G. Husik, on the briefs).
Karen J. Stanzione-Conte argued the cause for appellants Cleaver-Brooks Inc. and Crown Boiler Co. (Reilly, McDevitt & Henrich, attorneys; Karen J. Stanzione-Conte and Michelle B. Cappuccio, on the briefs).
Jeffrey S. Kluger argued the cause for appellant Armstrong International Inc. (McGivney, Kluger & Cook, attorneys; Jeffrey S. Kluger and Christopher M. Longo, on the briefs).
Meghan C. Goodwin argued the cause for appellant Burnham LLC (Clyde & Co. US, attorneys; Jeffrey Fegan, of counsel and on the briefs, and Meghan C. Goodwin and Daren S. McNally, on the briefs).
Patrick K.A. Elkins submitted a brief on behalf of appellant Johnson Controls Inc. (Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, attorneys; Patrick K.A. Elkins and Bryan M. Killian of the District of Columbia and Connecticut bars, admitted pro hac vice, on the brief).
Sara K. Saltsman submitted a brief on behalf of appellant Carrier Corp. (Mayfield, Turner, O'Mara & Donnelly, attorneys; Sara K. Saltsman, on the briefs).
Christopher M. Placitella argued the cause for respondent Arthur G. Whelan (Cohen Placitella & Roth and The Lanier Law Firm, attorneys; Rachel A. Placitella and Shannon K. Tully, on the briefs).
Amber R. Long argued the cause for amicus curiae New Jersey Association for Justice (Levy Konigsberg, attorneys; Amber R. Long and Moshe Maimon, on the brief).
Michael E. Waller submitted a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America (K&L Gates and U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, attorneys; Michael E. Waller, Tara L. Pehush, Michael B. Schon (U.S. Chamber Litigation Center), of the Arizona and the District of Columbia bars, admitted pro hac vice, Nicholas P. Vari (K&L Gates), of the Pennsylvania bar, admitted pro hac vice, Michael J. Ross (K&L Gates), of the Pennsylvania bar, admitted pro hac vice, and Jake D. Morrison (K&L Gates), of the Pennsylvania bar, admitted pro hac vice, on the brief).
Anita Hotchkiss submitted a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Product Liability Advisory Council, Inc. (Goldberg Segalla, attorneys; Anita Hotchkiss and H. Lockwood Miller III, on the brief).
Phil S. Goldberg submitted a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Coalition for Litigation Justice, Inc. (Shook, Hardy & Bacon, attorneys; Phil S. Goldberg and Mark A. Behrens, of the Virginia and the District of Columbia bars, admitted pro hac vice, on the brief).
Christopher J. Dalton submitted a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Washington Legal Foundation (Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, attorneys; Christopher J. Dalton and Linda P. Reig, on the brief).
Thomas Comerford submitted a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (Weitz & Luxenberg, attorneys; Thomas Comerford, of counsel and on the brief, and Jason P. Weinstein, of the New York bar, admitted pro hac vice, on the brief).
ALBIN, J., writing for the Court.
The Court considers whether defendants who manufacture or distribute products that, by their design, require the replacement of asbestos-containing components with other asbestos-containing components during the ordinary life of the product have a duty to give adequate warnings to the ultimate user.
Plaintiff Arthur Whelan filed suit against the seven present defendants, who allegedly manufactured or distributed products integrated with asbestos-containing components. Whelan claims he was exposed to asbestos dust while working on those products, including their original asbestos-containing components or asbestos-containing replacement components. Defendants contended that Whelan could not establish that his exposure to asbestos was the result of any product they manufactured or distributed. They disclaimed any liability for Whelan's exposure to asbestos-containing replacement parts that they did not manufacture or distribute, even though the parts were incorporated into their products. Whelan countered that it made no difference whether he was exposed to defendants' original asbestos-containing components or a third party's asbestos-containing components -- defendants' duty to warn and liability attached to both.
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants. The court concluded that defendants could not be held liable for asbestos-containing replacement components later incorporated into their products unless those components were manufactured or distributed by defendants. And the court found that Whelan could not establish that he was exposed to asbestos-containing components...
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