Judge Grants Dismissal of Mesothelioma Lawsuit Against General Electric and Others

court house mesothelioma case

On January 7, 2020, a Connecticut judge dismissed a suit involving corporate giant General Electric and several other co-defendants for claims alleging harmful occupational asbestos exposure in the workplace. The alleged claim arose from Kurt Carlson’s diagnosis of onset mesothelioma and other related illnesses due to workplace exposure. The initial claims were made back in 2017, as a result of a suit filed in the Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield at Bridgeport, CT, by Kurt Carlson and his wife Elaine Carlson, the plaintiff[s], in which, Kurt Carlson, was subjected to harmful occupational asbestos exposure while working on the job, which led to his diagnosis of mesothelioma. The plaintiffs sued for loss of consortium, product liability, and negligence under Connecticut law against the defendants: CBS Corporation, Foster Wheeler, LLC, Crane Company, and General Electric.

Plaintiffs Claim

Mr. Carlson claimed he contracted mesothelioma from asbestos exposure while he worked as a radiological control technician, from 1973-1974, for General Dynamics/ Electric Boat Corporation. The plaintiffs asserted the products manufactured and placed on the ships where Kurt Carlson worked as a technician was a substantial factor for causing him to contract mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused exclusively by asbestos fibers, which are inhaled and processed into the body where the fibers rest inside of the lungs and abdominal lining.

Ultimately, the Carlson[s] alleged that these companies, brought in the suit, were responsible for his asbestos exposure during this time, which led to Mr. Carlson’s diagnosis with mesothelioma. According to the court, the plaintiff has to hold the burden of proof to show that General Electric or any other co-defendants’ products were a ‘substantial factor’ in causing him to contract mesothelioma.

General Electric Argument

General Electric argued that Carlson failed to show any evidence that their company was responsible for any asbestos contained product he used or may have used at his place of employment. Here, Carlson testified in court “that he did not perform any work, maintenance or repair on any equipment or machinery, and did not provide any testimony regarding any work, maintenance, or repair performed by others in his presence. Furthermore, General Electric proclaimed that Mr. Carlson could not even identify the equipment that belonged to the company and was not witnessed by others. At the same time, he repaired any of the material.

Case removed from Superior court to United States District Court

One co-defendant, the Crane Company, petitioned for the removal of the case from the Superior Court because there was a federal question on the grounds of a government-contractor defense. Crane’s defense comes from the notion stemming from the fact that Carlson’s employer General Dynamics/Electric Boat Co., and the Crane Company were a United States Navy contractor, which had to abide or adhere to United States Navy specifications before authorizing the performance of any work to take place.

Therefore, Crane’s argument came from the fact that the United States Navy was required to adhere to all codes or specifications before anything can be installed or repaired. As a result, the government-contractor defense would hold that the defendant[s] could not be liable without going through the United States Navy. Soon after, the case was granted for removal by the Crane Company to the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut.

Claims Dismissed

Seemingly, this led to the defendant[s] ability to hold their ground that the products they manufactured were not an issue or a ‘substantial factor’ for the harm caused to the plaintiff[s]. The court also agreed with General Electric and the co-defendants, thereby granting summary judgment to dismiss all claims. Currently, the plaintiff[s] has not responded to the summary judgment granted by the United States District court. Also, all cross-claims made by co-defendants Foster Wheeler, LLC, and Crane Company were dismissed since the Carlson’s claim could not stand against the United States District Court’s ruling for summary judgment. At the end of the trial, all of the claims and cross-claims against General Electric were dismissed.

No Appeal Yet

From the information gathered from the trial the plaintiffs have not responded to the summary judgment granted and the dismissals made by the court. Currently, no extra statements have been asserted by General Electric or any co-defendants as of the present time. To date, the Carlson’s have not responded or indicated through counsel or media whether they have any arguments with the interpretation of the law or issues with the trial’s procedure. Upon further review, this case will be closely followed to see if any additional action will be taken or statements made from either side. At the present time, no appeal has been filed.

Mesothelioma Do Not Discount Help

Mesothelioma has proven to lie dormant for long periods before cancer can develop, let alone be discovered. Results from other individual cases should not discourage anyone who believes they or a loved one are suffering from the effects of asbestos exposure to halt seeking any refuge for help. Military contractors and veterans alike are very susceptible to history to be high-risk candidates for contracting mesothelioma. Consult a physician and an experienced asbestos attorney.

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