In a product liability case, district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendants is vacated and remanded where: 1) in regards to the plaintiff's claims of negligence, breach of warranty, failure to warn, and fraudulent concealment, it is not whether the plaintiff had knowledge that she had sustained substantial physical harm, but when she had sufficient notice that her lung disease was caused by the defendants' conduct, and material issue exists as to when the plaintiff had notice that the likely cause of her breathing problems was exposure to beryllium; 2) the claim for loss of consortium must be determined separately from the underlying claims; 3) defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on the sophisticated user defense as there are genuine issues of material fact about whether plaintiff's employer, Raytheon, knew or reasonably should have known of the particular dangers posed by polishing beryllium metals and by exposing its workers to a particular hazardous concentrations; 4) record supports the conclusion that plaintiff worked with berryllium products manufactured by defendants; 5) there are genuine issues of material facts as to whether Raytheon was the proximate cause of plaintiff's injury.
Appeal from the United State District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Decided August 21, 2009
For Appellant: Ruben Honik, with whom Stephan Matanovic, Golomb & Honik, P.C., Leo V. Boyle, and Meehan, Boyle, Black and Bogdanow, P.C. were on brief, for appellants.
For Appellee: William F. Ahern, Jr., with whom Jeremy Y. Weltman and Clark, Hunt & Embry were on brief, for appellee American Beryllia Corp. Robert M.A. Nadeau, with whom Nadeau Law, LLC was on brief, for appellee Hardric Laboratories, Inc. Jeffery D. Ubersax, with whom Robert S. Faxon, Jones Day, Alan M. Spiro, and Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP were on brief, for appellee Brush Wellman, Inc.