Plaintiff v. Boiler Manufacturer
Sedgwick secured a reversal of an adverse judgment of $2 million entered after a jury trial against our client, a boiler manufacturer. Plaintiffs alleged the deceased, who worked as a boiler tender on a Navy ship, became ill after exposure to asbestos products incorporated into our client's boilers. Our client presented evidence that it designed its boilers according to Navy specifications. By special verdict, the jury found the boilers were not defective, but also returned a finding of negligence against our client. Judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiffs. On review, the First District Court of Appeal determined that, because the boilers conformed to precise Navy specifications, our client was entitled to government contractor immunity from claims of defective design, manufacture and inadequate testing. The Court of Appeal further held that the jury's finding of no failure-to-warn defect and its affirmative finding of negligence were irreconcilable, since our client could not have negligently failed to warn regarding a product that contained all necessary warnings. The Court of Appeal vacated the judgment and remanded the case for a new trial on the failure-to-warn issue.