United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER RE MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
W. Thompson United States District Judge.
reasons set forth below, Crane Co.'s Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 72) is hereby DENIED, CBS
Corporation's Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 Summary Judgment Motion
(Doc. No. 78) is hereby DENIED, and Defendant Foster Wheeler
LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 75) is hereby
motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless the
court determines that there is no genuine issue of material
fact to be tried and that the facts as to which there is no
such issue warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Gallo v.
Prudential Residential Servs., 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d
Cir. 1994). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the
court may not try issues of fact, but must leave those issues
to the jury. See, e.g., Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Donahue v. Windsor
Locks Bd. of Fire Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 58 (2d Cir.
reviewing the evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the
court must “assess the record in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and . . . draw all reasonable
inferences in its favor.” Weinstock v. Columbia
Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000)(quoting
Delaware & Hudson Ry. Co. v. Consolidated Rail
Corp., 902 F.2d 174, 177 (2d Cir. 1990)).
parties dispute whether this matter is governed by federal
maritime law or Connecticut state law. The defendants contend
that federal maritime jurisdiction exists over the
plaintiff's tort claim because the harm satisfies the
“location” and “nexus” tests the
Supreme Court set forth in Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes
Dredge & Dock Co., 513 U.S. 527 (1995). The
plaintiff argues that the defendants satisfy neither test
under Grubart and that Connecticut's Product Liability
Act applies instead. The court does not need to resolve
whether federal maritime law or Connecticut state law applies
because its analysis is the same under either standard.
the Connecticut Product Liability Act (“CPLA”), a
product liability claim includes claims based on harm caused
by the “manufacture, construction, design, formula,
preparation, assembly, installation, testing, warnings,
instructions, marketing, packaging or labeling of any
product.” Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-572m.
“The CPLA is the exclusive remedy for any product
defect action brought under Connecticut law, and it includes
all actions related to the defect itself and to defects
related to placing a product ‘into the stream of
commerce.'” Bray v. Ingersoll-Rand Co.,
No. 3:13-CV-1561 SRU, 2015 WL 728515, at *4 (D. Conn. Feb.
19, 2015) (internal citations omitted). In Izzarelli v.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the Connecticut Supreme Court
laid out the elements of a product liability claim as
“(1) the defendant was engaged in the business of
selling the product; (2) the product was in a defective
condition unreasonably dangerous to the consumer or user; (3)
the defect caused the injury for which compensation was
sought; (4) the defect existed at the time of the sale; and
(5) the product was expected to and did reach the consumer
without substantial change in condition.”
321 Conn. 172, 184-85 (2016). While a product seller is
exempted from liability to the extent “his product was
altered or modified by a third party, ” this exemption
does not apply if “the alteration or modification was
the result of conduct that reasonably should have been
anticipated by the product seller.” § 52-572p.
federal maritime law, a plaintiff in a product liability case
must show, with respect to each defendant, that
“‘(1) he was exposed to the defendant's
product, and (2) the product was a substantial factor in
causing the injury he suffered, ' and (3) that the
defendant manufactured or distributed the injurious
product.” Bray, 2015 WL 728515, at *4 (citing
Lindstrom v. A-C Liab. Trust, 424 F.3d 488, 492 (6th
Cir.2005)). “In order to demonstrate that the allegedly
defective product was a ‘substantial factor' in
causing the plaintiff's injury, a plaintiff must show
that it is ‘more likely than not' that exposure to
the product caused his injuries.” Id. (citing
Ruiz v. Victory Props., LLC, 315 Conn. 320, 324
(2015)). Moreover, the alleged harm must be “of the
same general nature as the foreseeable risk” posed by
the defective product. Ruiz, 315 Conn. at 324. “[A]
mere showing that defendant's product was present
somewhere at plaintiff's place of work is insufficient.
Rather, where a plaintiff relies on proof of exposure to
establish that a product was a substantial factor in causing
injury, the plaintiff must show a high enough level of
exposure that an inference that the asbestos was a
substantial factor in the injury is more than
conjectural.” Perkins v. Air & Liquid Sys.
Corp., No. 13 CIV. 8561 CM, 2015 WL 4610671, at *6
(S.D.N.Y. July 30, 2015) (citing Lindstrom 424 F.3d at 492).
the CPLA or general maritime law, the plaintiff “must
demonstrate that the defendants manufactured or distributed a
defective product, that the defect existed at the time [the
plaintiff] utilized the product, that [the plaintiff] was
exposed to that defective product without adequate warning or
protection, and that exposure to the defective product caused
[his injury].” Bray, 2015 WL 728515, at *4. The
plaintiff may demonstrate these facts through reliance on
circumstantial evidence. See O'Brien v. Nat'l
Gypsum Co., 944 F.2d 69, 72 (2d Cir. 1991) (“[I]t
is beyond any doubt that circumstantial evidence alone may
suffice to prove adjudicative facts.”).
Co. (“Crane”) argues that “Plaintiff has
produced no evidence to establish that Mr. Paquin was exposed
to any allegedly[ ]defective Crane Co. product.” Def.
Crane's Mem. 9 (Doc. No. 73). Crane argues further that,
in any event, the plaintiff “cannot establish that his
alleged exposure to any Crane Co. asbestos ...