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Yaw v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

August 19, 2019

MARIETTA DIANNE YAW, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of DONALD ARTHUR YAW, Plaintiff,
v.
AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT, RESERVING RULINGS ON PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS, AND REQUESTING STATUS REPORT

          BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Warren Pumps, LLC's (“Warren Pumps”) motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 113; Defendant Air & Liquid Systems Corporation's (“ALS”) motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 205; Defendant Armstrong International, Inc.'s (“Armstrong”) motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 210; Defendant Ingersoll-Rand Company's (“Ingersol-Rand”) motion for summary judgment; Dkt. 211; and Plaintiff Marietta Yaw's (“Yaw”) motions for partial summary judgment on Warren Pumps, ALS, Armstrong, Ingersol-Rand, and Defendant Crane Co's (“Crane”) affirmative defenses, Dkts. 192, 194, 198, 204, 208. The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support of and in opposition to the motions and the remainder of the file and hereby rules as follows:

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On May 21, 2018, Plaintiffs Donald and Marietta Yaw (“the Yaws”) filed a complaint against numerous defendants alleging injuries to Mr. Yaw resulting from exposure to asbestos. Dkt. 1.

         On February 25, 2019, Warren Pumps filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that maritime law applies and that the Yaws had no evidence to support their claims. Dkt. 113. On March 18, 2019, the Yaws responded. Dkt. 134. On March 22, 2019, Warren Pumps replied. Dkt. 142.

         On March 21, 2019, the Yaws filed a motion to amend their complaint informing the Court that Mr. Yaw passed away. Dkt. 140. On April 18, 2019, the Court granted the Yaws' motion. Dkt. 154.

         On May 30, 2019, the Court renoted Warren Pumps' motion for consideration on the Court's June 21, 2019 calendar. Dkt. 180.

         On June 12, 2019, Yaw filed her motions for partial summary judgment on the five remaining defendants' affirmative defenses, Dkts. 192, 194, 198, 204, 208, and numerous defendants filed motions for summary judgment on Yaw's claims, Dkts. 205, 210, 211. On July 1, 2019, some parties responded. Dkts. 218, 220, 222, 224, 226, 229, 231, 234. On July 5, 2019, some parties replied. Dkts. 235, 237, 239.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The majority of the relevant facts in this matter are undisputed. Mr. Yaw worked at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (“PSNSY”) from 1964 through 2001. During the first part of his career, Mr. Yaw was a shipfitter, which Mr. Yaw describes as a steelworker who actually builds the ships. Mr. Yaw recalled working on numerous ships including the USS Simon Lake, USS Kitty Hawk, USS Cusk, USS Seattle, USS Ranger, USS Sacramento, USS John Adams, USS Constellation, USS Enterprise, USS Truxton, USS Bainbridge, and USS Ulysses S. Grant. It is undisputed that, at some point, some of these ships were equipped with products that either included parts with asbestos such as gaskets and seals or required additional parts with asbestos such as insulation. The problem, however, is that Mr. Yaw failed to remember working on any particular product on any particular ship. See Dkt. 113 at 2-3 (summarizing Yaw deposition).

         Yaw attempts to overcome this failure by selectively citing portions of Mr. Yaw's deposition and relying on the declaration of his expert, Captain Arnold Moore (“Moore”). Mr. Yaw stated in his deposition that he was in engine rooms and boiler rooms that were dusty. Dkt. 134 at 3-4. Moore then opines that “Mr. Yaw worked in spaces where other workers were removing asbestos insulation from 1964 until 1978. He likely worked in spaces where other workers were removing and replacing asbestos packing and gaskets for the entire time he worked as a shipfitter from 1964 through 1980.” Dkt. 135-1 at 65.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Maritime Law

         Warren Pumps argues that maritime law applies because “at least some portion of [Mr. Yaw's] alleged exposures took place aboard Naval vessels on navigable waters or in drydock . . . .” Dkt. 113 at 4. The party seeking to invoke such jurisdiction bears the burden to establish that it applies. Jerome B. Grubart, Inc. v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., 513 U.S. 527, 534 (1995). To satisfy this burden, the moving party must ...


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