Friable Thoughts

Monday, April 03, 2006

Re-entrainment Theory Too Speculative for Causation

A California appellate court has issued a published opinion holding that a re-entrainment theory is too speculative to establish causation. In ANDREWS v. FOSTER WHEELER, the plaintiff admitted he never worked with defendant's product or saw anyone do so. In opposition to the defendant's summary judgment, plaintiff established that defendant had equipment installed on a ship over 21 years before the plaintiff set foot on the ship.

Plaintiff's experts opined that fibers from the equipment gaskets remained (or "re-entrained") on the ship until plaintiff entered that same area. However, the general assumption that work was done on equipment was not sufficient to constitute evidence that the work occurred. Even if the assumption was valid, the court held that it would be speculation that plaintiff was exposed to those fibers from those gaskets more that 16 years later (the last known reference to defendant's equipment being on the ship.

So, at least in San Francisco, plaintiff's experts are going to have to try a little harder to establish exposure and causation to beat a motion for summary judgment.


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