Olivar v. Laval Inc.
A defendant who claims that federal maritime law applies must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the alleged exposure of the plaintiff's decedent to products that contained asbestos took place on a vessel in navigable waters. The plaintiff's decedent, Eldon Keener Jr., allegedly worked 20 years as a machinist in the Navy and another 20 years or so as a medical worker and technical writer. Keener allegedly suffered from mesothelioma as a result of exposure to products that contained asbestos and passed away. The plaintiff estate executor sued Warren Pumps LLC, alleging it was grossly negligent, because it possessed medical and scientific data about the dangers of asbestos, and it failed to warn the decedent and take adequate precautions, to help prevent exposure to asbestos. Warren Pumps moved for summary judgment and argued that federal maritime law applied to the plaintiff estate executor's Connecticut Superior Court complaint. A party who claims that federal maritime law applies must establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that an individual's exposure took place on a vessel in navigable waters. Genuine issues of material fact exist with respect to whether federal maritime law applies, and the court denied Warren Pumps' motion for summary judgment.