Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Fullen v. 3M Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

October 15, 2019

RICHARD W. FULLEN and MICHELLE FULLEN, Plaintiffs,
v.
3M COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Richard S. Fullen was an aircraft mechanic in the United States Air Force from 1994 to 2016. ECF No. 128 ¶ 20. In May 2016, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which he developed through exposure to and inhalation, ingestion, and absorption of asbestos fibers. Id. ¶¶ 19-20. On January 1, 2017, he and his wife, Plaintiff Michelle Fullen, filed a Complaint against Defendants, all of which are companies that developed, manufactured, distributed and/or sold asbestos-containing products that Mr. Fullen encountered as an aircraft mechanic. ECF No. 1. They filed their First, Second, and Third Amended Complaints on January 25, July 17, and October 12, 2017, respectively. ECF Nos. 3, 112, 128. Plaintiffs allege claims of negligence, strict products liability, breach of implied warranty, punitive damages, and loss of consortium against all Defendants. ECF Nos. 1, 3, 112, 128. Several Defendants also filed cross-claims against the other Defendants, asserting their right to contribution if they are found liable. See, e.g., ECF Nos. 23, 38, 65, 90, 96.

         This Opinion and accompanying Order resolve Cross-Defendant Velan Valve Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Cross-Claims and Third-Party Claims Based Upon Lack of Product Identification (“Motion for Summary Judgment”), ECF No. 295, Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation's Designation of Matthew Morrison as a Fact Witness (“Motion to Strike”), ECF No. 300, and Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation's Motion for Determination of Governing Law, ECF No. 305. No hearing is necessary for the resolution of any of these motions. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons, Cross-Defendant Velan Valve Corporation's Motion is granted, Plaintiffs' Motion is denied, and Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation's Motion is granted.

         I. MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         A. Relevant Background

         On May 15, 2019, Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their direct claims against Defendant and Cross-Defendant Velan Valve Corporation (“Velan”), leaving only the cross-claims pending against Velan. ECF No. 294. On June 4, 2019, Velan filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 295. This motion is unopposed.

         B. Standard of Review

          “Under [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 56(c), summary judgment is proper ‘if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating that no genuine dispute exists as to material facts. Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). If the moving party demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the non-moving party's case, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to identify specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. To defeat the motion, the nonmoving party must submit evidence showing facts sufficient for a fair-minded jury to reasonably return a verdict for that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).

         C. Discussion

         To survive summary judgment in an asbestos liability case, “the plaintiff must introduce evidence which allows the jury to reasonably conclude that it is more likely than not that the conduct of the defendant was a substantial factor in bringing about the [plaintiff's injuries].” Lohrmann v. Pittsburgh Corning Corp., 782 F.2d 1156, 1162 (4th Cir. 1986) (citing Robin Express Transfer, Inc. v. Canton R.R., 26 Md.App. 321, 335 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1975)). To establish this reasonable inference, the plaintiff must offer “evidence of exposure to a specific product on a regular basis over some extended period of time in proximity to where the plaintiff actually worked.” Id. at 1162-63.

         In its Motion, Velan asserts that there is no evidence that Mr. Fullen personally used any asbestos-containing product for which Velan is responsible, that a Velan product was frequently or regularly utilized in proximity to Mr. Fullen, or that Mr. Fullen otherwise came into contact with a Velan product, and there is no evidence that the use of any Velan product created respirable asbestos fibers or that Mr. Fullen subsequently inhaled those fibers. Because no party has responded to the contrary, Velan's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted and any remaining claims or cross-claims against Velan will be dismissed. See Whittaker v. David's Beautiful People, Inc., No. DKC 14-2483, 2016 WL 429963, at *3 n.3 (D. Md. Feb. 4, 2016) (considering claims to be abandoned where plaintiff did not respond to defendants' argument for summary judgment on those claims).

         II. MOTION TO STRIKE

         A. Relevant Background

         Plaintiffs' claims against Defendant Lockheed Martin Corporation (“Lockheed”) are based upon Lockheed's production of C-130 aircraft allegedly containing asbestos that caused Mr. Fullen's mesothelioma. See ECF No. 301-2. On April 5, 2018, the Court entered a Scheduling Order that set a deadline of April 23, 2018 for Lockheed's identification of fact witnesses. ECF No. 224 at 1.[1] By consent of the parties, this deadline was extended to May 7, 2018. ECF No. 242 ¶ 6; ECF No. 243.

         On June 26, 2019, after the fact witness identification deadline had passed but before the final discovery deadline, [2] Lockheed served on Plaintiffs a Supplemental Designation of Fact Witnesses identifying two new fact witnesses - Matthew King, who would testify about Lockheed's “post production sustainment sales of C-130 components to the United States Government, ” and Matthew Morrison, who would testify about “the United States Military's supply chain, parts procurement procedures, the Federal Logistics Information System, WebFlis, FED LOG and related databases.” ECF No. 301-1 ¶¶ 9, 10.

         On July 13, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Strike. ECF No. 300. Lockheed filed an ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.