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In re Allen T.

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

February 14, 2014

IN RE: ASBESTOS LITIGATION ALLEN T. and TOMMIE HOOFMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
AIR & LIQUID CORP., et al., Defendants.

Submitted: January 21, 2014

Upon Defendants FMC Corporation's and Goulds Pumps, Inc.'s Motions for Summary Judgment, GRANTED.

A. Dale Bowers, Esquire, Newport, Delaware, Of Counsel, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., New York, New York, Attorney for Plaintiffs.

Neal C. Glenn, Esquire, Daniel P. Daly, Esquire, Kelly Jasons McGowan Spinelli Hanna & Reber, L.L.P., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Defendant FMC Corporation and its former Chicago Pump and Northern Pump businesses.

Robert S. Goldman, Esquire, Phillips Goldman & Spence, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant Goulds Pumps, Inc.

OPINION

PAUL R. WALLACE, JUDGE

I. Introduction

Plaintiffs Allen T. and Tommie Hoofman filed this asbestos action against numerous defendants, including Defendant FMC Corporation ("FMC"), on behalf of its former Chicago Pump ("Chicago") and Northern Pump ("Northern") businesses, and Defendant Goulds Pumps, Inc. ("Goulds"), alleging wrongful exposure to Defendants' asbestos-containing products between 1958 and 1990. Defendants now move for summary judgment, asserting (1) that Maritime law applies to Plaintiffs' claims, and (2) that under either Maritime or Arkansas law, they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Following a hearing on January 9, 2014, the Court reserved its decision on these Defendants' motions for summary judgment and requested the Parties submit further briefing on the applicability of Maritime law. Having reviewed the Parties submissions and representations at oral argument, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' motions for summary judgment. In doing so, the Court need not and does not reach the issue of applicable law.

II. Factual Background

Mr. Hoofman has been diagnosed with what he alleges is asbestos-related lung cancer. From 1963 to 1982 he served in the United States Navy, performing maintenance and service on pumps, valves, engines, and turbines as a fireman and a machinist mate both on shore and aboard various Navy ships.[1] Mr. Hoofman testified that he believes he encountered asbestos during the removal of insulation materials on lines that ran to pumps, and during the removal and replacement of flange gaskets and packing.

Mr. Hoofman was deposed on June 26, 2012. He recalled the names of pumps he encountered while working on Navy ships, including Chicago and Goulds, but he could not identify any instance when, or location where, he worked on either a Chicago or Goulds pump.[2] At that time he also could not name any brand of packing material he worked with. But he was able to identify Flexitallix as a brand of replacement gaskets used by the Navy.[3]

Also of note, at age 9 Mr. Hoofman started smoking approximately 1 to 2 packs of cigarettes per day. Beginning in 1972, his smoking increased to an average of 2 packs per day. [4]

III. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is warranted pursuant to Superior Court Rule 56 where the movant can show that no material issues of fact exist such that movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[5] When moved for summary judgment, the Court must view all facts and draw all ...


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