Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal on Summary Judgment Motion of Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit

Keith Turley and his wife Joy Ann Turley filed a complaint in 2015 against some 50 defendants. The complaint alleged that Turley has asbestos-related disease caused by exposure to asbestos-containing products, including valve gaskets, during his 36-year employment at Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

During the discovery process and particularly with respect to interrogatory responses, Keith Turley stated that he was exposed to the asbestos-containing pipe products supplied by Familian Corp., the defendant in this case, including “asbestos cement, transite pipe, pipe collars, gaskets, elbows, pipe-repair products and other asbestos products.”

Familian moved for summary judgment arguing that Turley could not show exposure to asbestos in a Familian-related product. Turley submitted a declaration from a third-party witness who had been deposed. The trial court allowed the witness testimony. Familian used portions of the deposition in its reply brief. The court concluded that the deposition testimony “conclusively negates” the witness declaration testimony as to exposure, the court refused to consider it and granted summary judgment.

On appeal to the state appellate court, the decision of the trial judge was reversed stating that ambiguity for the evidence should be resolved at trial.

The witness’s testimony established that Familian-supplied asbestos-containing gaskets were frequently used at Turley’s worksite and that Turley used them. Because Familian was not the only supplier of products, it did not warrant a conclusion that Turley did not establish exposure. There is no direct contradiction between the witness’ declaration and his deposition testimony with respect to several areas, so his testimony should not have been disregarded as the trial court had held.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeals of the State of California reversed and remanded the case for further disposition.

Keith Turley, et al. v. Familian Corporation, California Court of Appeals, Docket No. A149752, (1st Appellate District; Dec. 22, 2017).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling product liability lawsuits, asbestos exposure lawsuits, catastrophic injury cases and work injury lawsuits for individuals, families and the loved ones who have been injured, harmed or killed by the negligence of another for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Winnetka, Wheaton, St. Charles, Aurora, Joliet, Mount Prospect, Chicago (Ravenswood, Old Town Triangle, Rogers Park, Jefferson Park, Wicker Park, Logan Square), Bensenville and Schiller Park, Ill.

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