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Manufacturer not liable for asbestos injuries caused by third-party supplier's products: Court


LOS ANGELES—A metal valve manufacturer had no duty to warn of potential asbestos-containing products made and supplied by third parties, an appeals court ruled this week in an asbestos product liability case.

Stamford, Conn.-based Crane Co. manufactured and supplied the United States Navy in the 1940s with metal valves for the propulsion systems of its steam-operated vessels, which included asbestos-containing insulation, packing and gaskets in the valves as specified by the Navy, according to court documents.

The plaintiff, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007 and served on board the Navy vessels from 1961 to 1965, filed a product liability claim against Crane in 2008 for design defects and failure to warn the Navy of the dangers of asbestos products made and supplied by third parties, according to the suit.

California law restricts liability

In affirming a lower court’s decision, a panel of judges in the California Court of Appeals in Los Angeles ruled Thursday that Crane’s product did not cause the plaintiff’s injury and the valves were not defective in manufacture or design, according to court documents.

“Crane is not subject to strict liability for failing to warn of the potential hazards of products manufactured and supplied by others, because California law restricts such liability to the manufacturers, retailers, and others in the manufacturing or marketing chain of a defective product,” Judge Steven C. Suzukawa wrote in the appeals court’s decision.

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