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Simonetta v. Viad Corporation

Asbestos litigation has long since gone past asbestos manufacturers as defendants to holding liable secondary and tertiary innocent bystanders as deep pockets. A recent decision, Simonetta v. Viad Corporation (Wash. App. Jan. 29, 2007), over alleged asbestos exposure in the 1950s, extends this trend.

Viad Corporation did not manufacture asbestos. It did not even manufacture a product that contained asbestos. Its alleged predecessor, Griscom Russell, manufactured an evaporator, and the users of the evaporator, in this case a Navy ship where the plaintiff worked from 1958 to 1959, installed insulation manufactured by someone else to wrap the product, and the insulation contained asbestos. This is enough, held the court, to create a duty of Viad to sailors on the U.S. Navy ship that used the evaporator, because they could have anticipated that the Navy would use asbestos for thermal insulation. (The court does not explore how on earth Griscom Russell is supposed to warn machinist mates about evaporator maintenance or why that duty does not rest with the Navy.)



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.