Governo Law Firm Prevails on Motion for Summary Judgment in Mesothelioma Asbestos Case


On December 19, 2011, Governo Law Firm prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in favor of our client, a valve manufacturer, in Ellen N. Whiting, Individually and as Executrix of the Estate of Willis R. Whiting, Jr. v. Alfa Laval, Inc. et al., No. 08-1825 & 08-1846 (Mass. Super. Ct. Dec. 19, 2011). The plaintiff filed a wrongful death suit in the Massachusetts Superior Court claiming that her husband died from mesothelioma due to his exposure to the defendants' asbestos-containing products while he served in the Navy.

Although the Whiting Court did not issue a written decision, the primary ground argued was the "replacement components" defense or "bare metal" defense, under which an equipment manufacturer cannot be held liable for external insulation or replacement components that it did not supply. The Court had previously granted summary judgment on this ground in July 2010, but had not revisited the issue since that time. See Dombrowski v. Alfa Laval, Inc., No. CV 08-1938, 2010 WL 4168848 (Mass. Super. Ct. July 1, 2010) (holding valve manufacturer could not be liable for replacement gaskets and packing or external insulation that it did not supply, as this would create a legal duty "that would exceed all reasonable limits").

On December 22, 2011, the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal from summary judgments entered in favor of two other defendants, but did not appeal the judgment entered in favor of our client. We are very pleased with this significant victory.