RMB wins appeal on two consolidated toxic tort cases involving a new interpretation of Washington law

Claude Bosworth and Allen Eraut defended an industrial equipment manufacturer in two asbestos cases involving the same witnesses and almost identical evidence. RMB filed for summary judgment in both cases: one judge granted the motion, but the other denied it. Both sides appealed their adverse decisions, and the cases were consolidated. The issue was whether the plaintiffs could pursue a claim for asbestos exposure when the defendant did not manufacture or sell the asbestos-containing products at issue. Normally, this type of claim would be barred by the Washington decisions in Simonetta v. Viad and Braaten v. Saberhagen, but the plaintiffs argued that exceptions to these cases applied. The plaintiffs argued that (1) the industrial equipment manufacturer "specified" the type of replacement parts--like gaskets and packing--and thus should remain liable for similar parts sold by other companies; and (2) follow-up maintenance work performed by the manufacturer created an ongoing duty to warn of hazards related to asbestos. The court of appeals rejected both arguments, and ruled in the manufacturer's favor in both cases. You can find the appellate court's full opinion hereMichael Mattingly argued the case on appeal.

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