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Lund v. 3M Co.

United States District Court, C.D. California

August 1, 2016

VICTORIA LUND, individually and as successor-in-interest to WILLIAM LUND, deceased; DAVID LUND, an individual; and SHEILA LUND, an individual, as legal heirs of WILLIAM LUND, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
3M COMPANY a/k/a MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS ELECTRIC BOAT CORPORATION AND GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION’S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION [DKT. 852]

          DEAN D. PREGERSON United States District Judge.

         Presently before the court is Defendants Electric Boat Corporation and General Dynamics Corporation’s (“Defendants”) Motion for Reconsideration of the court’s Order Denying Summary Adjudication of Plaintiff’s Strict Liability Claims. (Dkt. 852.) Having considered the submissions of the parties, heard oral argument, and reviewed the evidence, the court DENIES the motion for reconsideration and adopts the following order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The court has set forth the relevant background in a prior memorandum of decision addressing Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. (See Dkt. 845.) In brief, Plaintiffs, individually and as legal heirs and representatives of William Lund’s estate, brought this action to recover for injuries suffered by Mr. Lund, a former U.S. Navy Machinist Mate. (Dkt. 1, ¶ 8.) According to Plaintiffs, Mr. Lund’s injuries and mesothelioma diagnosis were attributable to his exposure to asbestos dust and fibers during the construction and maintenance of various U.S. Navy ships manufactured by Defendants. (Id.) In particular, Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Lund was exposed to asbestos while working “in the engineering spaces on the USS Lafayette” at Electric Boat division’s shipyard and while working on the USS Gato at General Dynamics’ shipyard. (Plaintiffs’ Responses to Special Interrogatories Propounded by Defendant General Dynamics Corporation’s, Set One, attached as Exhibit B to the Declaration of Lisa M. Rickenbacher (“Plaintiffs’ Special Interrogatories Responses”), Dkt. 622-4, at 4:17-7:15.)

         Plaintiffs filed this action in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles, raising claims of negligence, breach of express and implied warranties, strict liability in tort, and premises owner/contractor liability. (See Dkt. 1.) The case was removed to federal court and, on January 30, 2015, Defendants General Dynamics and Electric Boat filed motions for summary judgment on each of Plaintiffs’ claims. (Dkt. Nos. 619 & 622.) On March 1, 2016, the court denied Defendants’ motions for summary judgment in full. (Dkt. 829.) It later issued a Memorandum of Decision (“Summ. J. Mem.”) explaining its reasoning. (Dkt. 845.)

         Among the issues raised in Defendants’ Summary Judgment Motion was whether a strict products liability claim could be brought against shipbuilders, such as Defendants, who built custom ships for the U.S. Navy. (Dkt. 622-1 at 6.) Relying on an out-of-circuit district court case, Defendants argued that a Navy ship should not be considered a “product” for purposes of a strict liability claim. (Id. (citing Mack v. General Electric Co., 896 F.Supp.2d 333, 345 (E.D. Pa. 2012)).) The court in Mack held that while strict liability could be imposed on manufacturers of a ship’s various component products, it could not be imposed on the builder of the ship itself. (Id.) Applied to the present case, the court acknowledged that Mack presented persuasive authority but denied summary judgment on the strict liability claims because it found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to the involvement of other asbestos-containing products besides Navy ships.

         Defendants then filed this Motion for Reconsideration. (Dkt. 852.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Central District of California Local Rule 7-18, a party may seek reconsideration of a decision on any motion on the grounds of:

(a) a material difference in fact or law from that presented to the Court . . . that . . . could not have been known to the party moving for reconsideration at the time of such decision, or (b) the emergence of new material facts or a change of law occurring after the time of such decision, or (c) a manifest showing of a failure to consider material facts presented to the Court before such decision.

C.D. Cal. L.R. 7-18. A motion for reconsideration may not, however, “in any manner repeat any oral or written argument made in support of or in opposition to the original motion.” Id.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration raises only a single issue: does the Ninth Circuit’s decision in McIndoe v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., 817 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir. 2016), which was decided after the court issued its summary judgment order, require reconsideration of the court’s prior determination that Defendants were not entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s strict liability claims.

         A. The Mc ...


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