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Olds v. 3M Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

February 14, 2014

PAUL OLDS, Plaintiff,
v.
3M COMPANY a/k/a MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING COMPANY; et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND STATEMENT OF UNCONTROVERTED FACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

MANUEL L. REAL, District Judge.

Defendant United Technologies Corporation's Motion for Summary Judgment came on regularly for hearing on January 27, 2014, before the Honorable Manuel L. Real in Department 8 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. All appearances are as reflected in the record.

Having read and considered all papers and evidence filed in support of and in opposition to the Motion, and argument of counsel, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion is GRANTED and judgment shall be entered in favor of United Technologies Corporation. The Court denies plaintiff's request under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) to defer ruling on the Motion for plaintiff to conduct additional discovery. The Court finds that the further discovery plaintiff seeks is not essential to justify his opposition.

The Court's ruling granting United Technologies Corporation's Motion is based on the findings of uncontroverted facts and conclusions of law set forth below, and as stated on the record at the January 27, 2014 hearing on the Motion.

UNCONTROVERTED FACTS

Uncontroverted Fact: Supporting Evidence: 1. Plaintiff claims he developed an Plaintiffs' Complaint, Exhibit A to asbestos-related disease as a result Declaration of John K. Son ("Son of exposure to asbestos from Decl."). defendants' products. As to United Technologies Corporation ("UTC"), plaintiff alleges exposure to asbestos from Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines, for which UTC is liable, while serving as an aircraft mechanic in the United States Air Force from 1948 to 1968. 2. Plaintiff asserts a "take-home" Plaintiff's Responses to Special exposure claim gaainst UTC, Interrogatories Propounded by alleging that he was injured as a Defendant United Technologies result of secondary exposure to Corporation, Set One, Resp. No. 1, absestos fibers brought hojme on Exhibit C to Son Decl. the clothing of his mother, who allegedly workes for Pratt & Whitney in the 1940s.

3. Plaintiff was deposed in January Transcript of the Deposition of Paul 2013 regarding his work around Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. aircraft in the U.S. Air Force, all of 376:16-20, Exhibit B to Son Decl. which involved military aircraft only. 4. From 1953 to 1956, plaintiff Transcript of the Deposition of Paul worked in the supply department Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. and maintained the tool crib at 327:23-328:15, Exhibit B to Son Decl. Orlando Air Force Base. 5. The only aircraft at that location Transcript of the Deposition of Paul were the C-47 and C-45. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 86:13-16, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 6. He did not perform any work on Transcript of the Deposition of Paul aircraft at this location. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 328:21-329:2; 322:12-324:12, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 7. He did not know the brand name, Transcript of the Deposition of Paul manufacturer, or supplier of any of Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. the parts he handled. 324:18-25, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 8. He could not recall any work that Transcript of the Deposition of Paul the others may have performed in Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 329:4-330:4, his presence, and he does not know Exhibit B to Son Decl. the material composition of any of the components they worked with other than metal.

9. Plaintiff worked at Sidi Slimane in Transcript of the Deposition of Paul Morocco in the supply department Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 331:9-333:4, from 1956 to 1957. Exhibit B to Son Decl. 10. The only aircraft he ordered Transcript of the Deposition of Paul supplies for was the F-100. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 87:16-88:8., Exhibit B to Son Decl. 11. Plaintiff did not perform work on Transcript of the Deposition of Paul aircraft or aircraft components; nor Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 333:1-21, did he see others perform work on Exhibit B to Son Decl. aircraft at this location. 12. Plaintiff was stationed at Eglin Air Transcript of the Deposition of Paul Force Base from 1959 to 1963. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 336:20-337:10, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 13. The only aircraft at that location Transcript of the Deposition of Paul was the B-52. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 337:18-24, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 14. Ninety percent of plaintiff's time Transcript of the Deposition of Paul was spent on the flight line in the Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 340:3-19, cockpit of the aircraft. Exhibit B to Son Decl. 15. He did not work on aircraft Transcript of the Deposition of Paul engines, but he occasionally saw Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. others from a distance remove and 340:21-341:22, Exhibit B to Son Decl. replace engines from the aircraft as whole and complete units.

16. Plaintiff was stationed at Transcript of the Deposition of Paul Bergstrom Air Force base from Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 1963 to approximately 1965. 343:19-346:25, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 17. The only aircraft at that location Transcript of the Deposition of Paul were the B-52 and KC-135 aircraft. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 344:18-20, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 18. Plaintiff worked on the quality Transcript of the Deposition of Paul control and trim teams, which Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. mostly entailed visual inspections 344:14-25, Exhibit B to Son Decl. of aircraft and paperwork. 19. He did not perform hands-on work Transcript of the Deposition of Paul to aircraft or aircraft components, Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. and he did not observe anyone else 344:14-345:22; Vol I, 101:17-24. perform work on aircraft or aircraft Exhibit B to Son Decl. components in his presence. 20. Plaintiff was stationed at March Transcript of the Deposition of Paul Air Force Base from 1965 to 1967. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 346:17-347:2, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 21. The only aircraft at that location Transcript of the Deposition of Paul was the B-52. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 347:8-10, Exhibit B to Son Decl.

22. Plaintiff worked on the quality Transcript of the Deposition of Paul control team; he performed no Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. hands-on work to aircraft or aircraft 347:11-20, Exhibit B to Son Decl. components, and he did not observe anyone else perform work on aircraft or aircraft components in his presence. 23. Plaintiff was stationed in Guam for Transcript of the Deposition of Paul six months. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 348:17-25, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 24. The only aircraft at that location Transcript of the Deposition of Paul was the B-52. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 349:7-12, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 25. Plaintiff supervised other Transcript of the Deposition of Paul mechanics but he could not recall Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. any specific tasks or duties that 349:13-351:1, Exhibit B to Son Decl. they performed in his presence. 26. Plaintiff was stationed in Thailand Transcript of the Deposition of Paul from 1967 to 1968. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 351:3-13, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 27. The only aircraft at that location, Transcript of the Deposition of Paul was the Republic F-105. Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. 351:16-19, Exhibit B to Son Decl. 28. Plaintiff did not work on aircraft or Transcript of the Deposition of Paul aircraft components, and he could Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. not recall any work that others 351:20-354:1, Exhibit B to Son Decl. performed in his presence.

29. Plaintiff confirmed that he did not Transcript of the Deposition of Paul know the maintenance history of Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. II, p. any of aircraft or aircraft 376:21-378:1, Exhibit B to Son Decl. components that he ever encountered at any of his jobsites. 30. Plaintiff testified that his mother Transcript of the Deposition of Paul worked at Pratt & Whitney from Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 213:2-8, approximately 1943 to 1945, when Exhibit B to Son Decl. he was only a child. 31. Plaintiff's mother operated a turret Transcript of the Deposition of Paul lathe, which was a piece of Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 24:24-25:13; machinery that drilled holes into a 216:2-5, Exhibit B to Son Decl. metal block. 32. Plaintiff admitted he did not know Transcript of the Deposition of Paul whether his mother ever returned Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 24:16-22; from work with dust or debris on 215:6-15, Exhibit B to Son Decl. her clothing. 33. Plaintiff had no reason to believe Transcript of the Deposition of Paul that his mother ever worked with Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 216:6-9, anything other than metal. Exhibit B to Son Decl. 34. Plaintiff never visited his mother at Transcript of the Deposition of Paul work, and everything he knew Olds ("Olds Depo."), Vol. I, p. 214:10-215:1, about his mother's job duties were Exhibit B to Son Decl. based on what she had told him.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986).

2. All of plaintiff's causes of action against UTC arising out of his alleged first-hand and/or bystander exposure to asbestos fail for lack of causation because there is no evidence that plaintiff was exposed to asbestos-containing parts or components for which UTC is or may be liable. Furthermore, plaintiff's declaration submitted in support of his opposition to UTC's motion is insufficient to allow a jury to reasonably find that exposure to Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff's illness.

3. All of plaintiff's causes of action against UTC arising out of his alleged secondary ("take-home") exposure to asbestos as a result of his mother's work at Pratt & Whitney fail for lack of causation because: (i) there is no evidence that plaintiff's mother was exposed to asbestos dust as a result of her alleged work at Pratt & Whitney, (ii) there is no evidence that plaintiff's mother carried asbestos dust home on her body or clothing from Pratt & Whitney, and (ii) there is no evidence that plaintiff was secondarily exposed to asbestos dust brought home on the body or clothing of his mother or that such exposure was a substantial factor in causing his illness.

4. For the foregoing reasons, and pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, plaintiff's causes of action set forth in his Complaint should be, and hereby are, dismissed and defendant United Technologies Corporation shall have judgment in its favor.


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