The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision last month in Air & Liquid Systems v. DeVries. Authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Opinion held that Maritime law does not recognize the so-called “bare metal defense” in asbestos litigation. The previously used defense alleged that equipment manufacturers who sold items like boilers, pumps, and compressors to the Navy for use on ships should not be held liable for the asbestos components, such as gaskets, packing, and insulation, required to properly operate that equipment.
This defense has been the subject of substantial litigation in courts around the country, which have both upheld and overruled this defense under different states’ laws. The Supreme Court held that “In the maritime tort context, a product manufacturer has a duty to warn when (i) its product requires incorporation of a part, (ii) the manufacturer knows or has reason to know that the integrated product is likely to be dangerous for its intended uses, and (iii) the manufacturer has no reason to believe that the product’s users will realize that danger.” Air & Liquid Systems v. DeVries, No. 17-1104 (U.S. Mar. 19, 2019) at 2.
The sailors in this case are represented by Thomas C. Goldstein of Goldstein & Russell PC and Richard P. Myers and Robert E. Paul of Paul Reich & Myers PC. They did a tremendous job in a critically important case. The case is Air and Liquid Systems Corp. et al. v. Devries, (case number 17-1104) in the U.S. Supreme Court.
This decision by the Supreme Court will protect Beasley Allen clients who honorably served our country in the Navy and are now suffering from mesothelioma and lung cancer. For more information about this critical Supreme Court decision, or about asbestos litigation in general, contact Beasley Allen via our contact form below.