Judge Denies Pump Manufacturer’s Attempt to Evade Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Thomas N. Wixted died of malignant mesothelioma 46 years after leaving his position as senior stationary engineer at the Suffolk State School in New York. His widow, Jane, filed a personal injury lawsuit against Milton Roy, a pump manufacturer that she says provided asbestos-contaminated pipes to which her late husband had been exposed. Though the company attempted to have the case against it dismissed, the Supreme Court of New York denied its motion for summary judgment, saying that the company was attempting “to circumvent the standards of summary judgment.”

pump maintenance

Engineer’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Exposure to Asbestos from Pumps

The mesothelioma lawsuit filed by Mrs. Wixted points to the 12 years when her husband had worked at the Suffolk State School. He held various positions, and during the time that he was a senior stationary engineer, he hired a variety of employees whose work he oversaw. One was Daniel Stoffel, a fireman, who was responsible for removing and replacing gaskets on pumps.

Mr. Stoffel provided testimony in support of the mesothelioma claim. He described having used a variety of tools to remove gaskets from flanges on Milton Roy pumps, and the external asbestos insulation he encountered on those pumps. He noted that Mr. Wixted was always present when work started on a pump, and was exposed to that asbestos.

Pump Company Argues that Widow’s Evidence Does Not Prove Mesothelioma Causation

In its motion for summary judgment, Walter Roy asserted that the mesothelioma claim against it should be dropped because there was no evidence that Mr. Wixted had been exposed to asbestos from a Milton Roy pump at the Suffolk State School. They relied upon a previous court’s decision that denied a verdict against an asbestos company based on the plaintiff’s failure to prove that exposure to asbestos in the defendant’s product was a proximate cause of the victim’s illness and death.

The company also submitted testimony from a witness who worked for the school. James B. Carling claimed that he had reviewed documents regarding equipment shipped to the school and found that it was not the equipment referenced in the victim’s lawsuit.

In response to Walter Roy’s argument, the mesothelioma widow’s attorney asserted that the company was jumping ahead, and that it could not legally use the referenced legal decision to dismiss a case at this point in the trial. The representative also noted that Mr. Carling’s testimony was not pertinent because he had only begun working for the company in 1980, long after the time when he would have had personal knowledge of relevant facts from 1967. The judge agreed and denied the company’s petition. The case will continue.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you get justice. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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