Bond Obtains Summary Judgment, Dismissing Silicosis Claims

March 13, 2015

On behalf of its client Unimin Corporation, Bond attorneys successfully moved for summary judgment, along with several co-defendants, obtaining the dismissal of two cases involving claims of silicosis. The two cases, venued in Cattaraugus County, involved claims of occupational exposure to crystalline silica by workers at the Dexter-Hysol plant in Olean, New York. The plaintiffs asserted product liability claims against the defendant silica suppliers based on the defendants’ sale of silica to their employer. Both cases claimed that defendants failed to adequately warn the end users regarding the potential hazards associated with inhalation of crystalline silica.

In support of their motions, the defendants presented the Court with evidence demonstrating that the employer was a sophisticated user of silica and had key employees who knew of the potential hazards associated with inhalation of crystalline silica. The defendants also presented the Court with evidence concerning warnings they provided to the employer. Lastly, defendants presented the Court with proof of the longstanding federal and state regulations which governed the use of silica in the workplace during the entire time that plaintiffs were employed by Dexter-Hysol.

The Court dismissed both cases finding that the remote suppliers of silica met their burden of showing entitlement to judgment as a matter of law and that the defendants could not be held liable for failing to provide warnings directly to the plaintiffs.

To learn more, contact Richard L. Weber, Thomas R. Smith or Scott M. Philbin.