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Alberes v. Anco Insulations, Inc.

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

December 10, 2014

EDWARD ANTHONY ALBERES, ET AL.
v.
ANCO INSULATIONS, INC., ET AL

APPEAL FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH. NO. 2008-10512, DIVISION " D-16" . Honorable Lloyd J. Medley, Judge, Honorable Nadine M. Ramsey, Judge, Ad Hoc.

Gerolyn P. Roussel, Perry J. Roussel, Jr., Jonathan B. Clement, Lauren R. Clement, Benjamin P. Dinehart, Dylan A. Wade, ROUSSEL & CLEMENT, LaPlace, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS/APPELLANTS/EDWARD A. ALBERES, ET AL.

Michael D. Roche, Richard K. Leefe, Wanda A. Davis, Michael R. Gelder, James K. Sticker, III, LEEFE, GIBBS, SULLIVAN, DUPRE, LLC, Metairie, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE/GOODRICH CORPORATION.

(Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Roland L. Belsome).

OPINION

Page 796

[2013-1549 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Terri F. Love, Judge.

Edward A. Alberes (" Mr. Alberes" ) and his wife, Anna A. Alberes (collectively " appellants" ) sought to recover damages as a result of Mr. Alberes' contraction of asbestosis and other damaging effects to his health from his exposure to asbestos while working at B. F. Goodrich Corporation (" Goodrich" ). Goodrich filed a motion for summary judgment based on the appellants' failure to demonstrate that Mr. Alberes' exposure to asbestos at Goodrich's facility was a substantial contributing factor to the onset of his asbestosis. The trial court granted Goodrich's motion for summary judgment. On appellate review, we find that because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Mr. Alberes' exposure to asbestos at Goodrich was a substantial contributing factor to his development of asbestosis the trial court committed reversible error. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's granting of the motion for summary judgment.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In October 2008, the appellants filed suit for damages as a result of Mr. Alberes' contraction of asbestosis. From approximately 1953 through 2006, Mr. [2013-1549 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Alberes was employed in various positions, including as a pipefitter and insulator, at the work sites of several employers. In the late 1970's or early 1980's, Mr. Alberes worked a turnaround job for five days as a pipefitter helper at Goodrich's facility in Plaquemine, Louisiana. Mr. Alberes testified that he was responsible for installing

Page 797

and removing Garlock[1] gaskets containing asbestos. He further testified that most of the gaskets were old and had been there for quite some time. He testified that when removing the gaskets it often required him to scrape the gasket material with a wire brush or blow the remnants out with an air hose. Mr. Alberes testified that he was aware the Garlock gaskets contained asbestos because when he passed his hand over it he could see the fibers. He stated that the fibers were " kind of brownish white looking, black...[and] when you move them, they kind of sparkle."

Additionally, Mr. Alberes testified that when he worked at Goodrich he worked in close proximity to insulators. He noted the insulators were present the entire time he was employed at Goodrich, removing old insulation and installing new insulation. Mr. Alberes testified that not only did he work in the area with insulators, but he was also responsible for cleaning up the insulation at the end of each day. Mr. Alberes stated that there was always a Goodrich supervisor or superintendent overseeing their work, but at no time was he advised to wear or provided respiratory protection.

[2013-1549 La.App. 4 Cir. 3] The appellants also submitted the deposition of Frank Parker, III (" Mr. Parker" ), an expert industrial hygienist. Mr. Parker testified that Mr. Alberes' handling, removing, and installing asbestos-contained gaskets would expose him to concentrations of asbestos above " contemporary occupational limits." These exposures, Mr. Parker testified, would have been a significant contributing factor in his risk for development of asbestosis. Dr. Judd Shellito (" Dr. Shellito" ) also testified that any and all exposures to asbestos would have been a significant contributing factor in Mr. Alberes' contraction of asbestosis and asbestos-related pleural plaques. Further, Dr. Robert Jones (" Dr. Jones" ), Goodrich's expert, testified that all exposures are cumulative, and all exposures contribute to the ultimate disease.

The appellants filed suit seeking damages allegedly resulting from his exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products while Mr. Alberes was employed at various work sites. Specific to this matter, the appellants contend that during Mr. Alberes' time at Goodrich's facility, his exposure to ...


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