May v. Air & Liquid Systems Corp.Annotate this Case
Respondents manufactured steam pumps that were sold to the United States Navy. Although Respondents’ pumps contained asbestos gaskets and packing when they were delivered to the Navy, Respondents’ manuals did not contain any warnings regarding the danger of inhaling asbestos dust or directions to wear protective gear. Petitioner was the widow of a machinist mate who served on active duty in the Navy from 1956 until 1976. Petitioner’s husband was only exposed to asbestos after other Navy mechanics, who performed maintenance on Respondents’ pumps, replaced Respondents’ gaskets and packing with new components also containing asbestos that were acquired from third parties. Petitioner filed suit against Respondents, alleging negligence. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondents, concluding that Respondents had no duty to warn of the dangers of the asbestos-containing replacement parts that they neither manufactured nor placed into the stream of commerce. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) summary judgment on Petitioner’s negligent failure to warn claims was inappropriate; and (2) Petitioner supplied sufficient evidence to survive Respondents’ motion for summary judgment on her strict liability claim.