Sunday, November 24, 2013

Catrett, Administratrix of the Estate of Louis H. Catrett, Deceased v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp. case brief

Catrett, Administratrix of the Estate of Louis H. Catrett, Deceased v. Johns-Manville Sales Corp. case brief summary
826 F.2d 33 (D.C. Cir. 1987)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff, decedent's widow, brought an action against defendants, asbestos manufacturers and distributors, for damages resulting from decedent's death from asbestosis. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment in favor of a manufacturer. The widow appealed.

CASE FACTS
The decedent installed asbestos fireproofing products. The manufacturer contended that the widow failed to show that the decedent was exposed to any of its products. In opposition to the motion, the widow submitted a letter from an executive of decedent's former employer describing decedent's use of a particular asbestos product. In response to interrogatories, the widow listed the executive as a witness.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that the manufacturer was not entitled to summary judgment because the record contained sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact with respect to the decedent's exposure to the particular asbestos product. 
  • The court found that the record reflected a direct link between the manufacturer and the product because: 
  • (1) the letter reflected knowledge of the decedent's exposure to the product and that its maker was a corporation now owned by the manufacturer; 
  • (2) the author of the letter could testify to the facts contained therein; and 
  • (3) the manufacturer submitted documents recording its sale of the asbestos product to decedent's employer during the period of his employ.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the district court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer.


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