HKM Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment on Non-Exposure Grounds in Mesothelioma Case

HKM lawyers Pete Wanning, John Wells and Ryan Brackin recently obtained an order granting their client's motion for summary judgment in a wrongful death mesothelioma case pending in Ramsey County, Minnesota.  The case involved a former foundry employee who claimed he worked with and around asbestos-containing products and equipment, which he alleged caused him to develop mesothelioma.  HKM represented a foundry supply company in the litigation.

The products of HKM's client were identified during depositions of the decedent's former co-workers.  Through thoughtful and aggressive cross-examination, HKM's attorneys were able to establish that the co-workers did not have actual knowledge that any particular product of HKM's client actually contained asbestos.  HKM's attorneys also established during the discovery process that during the relevant time period, HKM's client manufactured and sold non-asbestos-containing products.  HKM was also able to establish that the products described by the decedent's co-workers closely matched the description of the non-asbestos-containing products.  Finally, HKM was able to establish that written warnings that a co-worker allegedly saw on HKM's client's products at the foundry were not specific to asbestos, and that similar warnings were provided for non-asbestos-containing products.

HKM moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiffs had failed to meet Minnesota's exposure standard in asbestos litigation, by showing that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the decedent worked with or around an asbestos-containing product attributable to HKM's client. HKM demonstrated that the evidence relied upon by the plaintiffs did not rise above conjecture or speculation, and was therefore insufficient to withstand summary judgment, because the co-worker testimony could just as likely have described non-asbestos-containing products. The Court agreed with HKM's attorneys, holding that the plaintiffs' evidence would impermissibly have required a jury to speculate whether any of HKM's client's products could have exposed the decedent to asbestos.  Accordingly, on the eve of trial, the Court granted HKM's motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs' claims with prejudice and on the merits.

HKM Toxic Tort lawyers enjoy a national reputation of excellence in representing manufacturers, contractors, premises owners and retailers as local, regional and national counsel in a broad spectrum of misbranding and exposure claims involving asbestos, silica, benzene, and food and supplement cases.