Personal Injury

NEWS FROM THE FIRM

KEN KYRE SUCCESSFULLY OBTAINS A DISMISSAL OF HIS CLIENT IN A COMPLEX PERSONAL INJURY ASBESTOS CASE IN FEDERAL COURT

Ken Kyre had been litigating a products liability lawsuit for two years in federal court, defending a company which fabricated very large metal vessels. The plaintiff had alleged that he developed mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to asbestos for which his attorneys contended Ken’s client was responsible, along with other companies with different products. Ken requested the Court to dismiss all claims against the client, using the procedure of a motion for summary judgment (where, if granted, the Court would conclude that the claims should be dismissed without a jury trial because of insufficient evidence by which a jury could find liability).

Ken argued that his client should not be liable due to the “bare metal defense,” which essentially provides (in one form or another) that a company that produces and sells a product without asbestos is not liable for injuries caused by asbestos that was added to the product after that product left the possession and control of the company. No North Carolina appellate court has ruled on whether that defense is available in this state, but Ken reasoned that based on past and current products liability law in this state, a North Carolina appellate court would recognize such defense. The U.S. District Judge who considered the motion for summary judgment ruled consistent with the basic concept of the bare metal defense (although she did not mention it by name), and all claims against Ken’s client were dismissed. See Woolard v. Carrier Corp., No. 1:18CV410, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89539 (M.D.N.C. May 21, 2020).