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A Washington appeals court has ruled a manufacturer did indeed bare the responsibility of warning a plaintiff of potential asbestos exposure even when the manufacturer’s water evaporator used on Navy ships did not contain asbestos.

The ruling stems from a product liability lawsuit brought upon by a man that was diagnosed with lung cancer and asbestos-related disease back in 2000.

Simonetta worked as a Navy machinist mate during the late 1950s, court records show. After he sued, a trial court granted the manufacturer summary judgment, finding that it did not have a duty to warn because the asbestos exposure did not stem from the evaporator itself, nor did its evaporator cause the harm.

But the Washington Court of Appeals, Division 1 overturned that verdict. It found instead that Viad knew that asbestos was necessarily used to insulate its product and posed a health risk to anyone servicing the evaporator.

In a similar ruling Monday Bratten vs. Buffalo Pumps Inc, the same appeals court held four manufacturers responsible to warn the naval shipyard pipe fitter whose job included removing asbestos parts or insulation on a regular basis around the pipes and machinery that they manufactured.

This decision overturned a trial court’s summary judgment that the manufacturers did not have a responsibility to notify. Both cases were remanded for further proceedings by the appeals court.

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