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Maritime Law and Asbestos

Today an extremely important decision came down clarifying under maritime law the duties and obligations of a company that supplies equipment that it knows required asbestos to function properly. This is another case in a recent trend recognizing liability where the harm that is caused by specifying an asbestos-containing component is foreseeable.

The defendants that manufacture equipment requiring the use of asbestos, especially in military related cases, uniformly take the position that they are not responsible for any harm resulting from replacement parts even though they knew those parts were hazardous. This case rejects that position soundly and provides a roadmap for lawyers and litigants who face the stonewalling government contractor defense and their metal defense positions. Our congratulations to my friend and colleague Jerry Block for his great work.

Osterhout MSJ and MIL Decision and Order

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