Wannall v. Honeywell, Inc., No. 13-7185 (D.C. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
John Tyler and his wife filed suit seeking damages from various companies that manufacture products containing asbestos that he had been exposed. After Tyler died from a form of lung cancer caused by asbestos, Stephen Wannall became the personal representative of Tyler's estate. Honeywell was named in the suit as the successor-in-interest to the Bendix Corporation, which manufactured brake shoes that Tyler used in helping friends, family, and neighbors perform automobile repairs for over 50 years. Honeywell moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff failed to establish the causal link required under Virginia law between Tyler's exposure to Bendix brakes and his disease. The district court denied the motion. While the parties were preparing for trial, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued Ford Motor Company v. Boomer, which rejected the "substantial" cause standard that the parties had previously understood as controlling, and ruled instead that plaintiffs must demonstrate that "exposure to the defendant's product alone must have been sufficient to have caused the harm." Honeywell moved for reconsideration of its motion for summary judgment in light of Boomer. Plaintiff opposed the motion but did not seek leave to file a new declaration of their expert under Rule 26(e). Nor did plaintiff move under Rule 56(d) for permission to take additional discovery in response to Honeywell's motion. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of Honeywell's motion to strike the new expert declaration and its renewed motion for summary judgment pursuant to Boomer.