Plaintiff v. Energy Company
Sedgwick obtained summary judgment on behalf of our client, a major integrated energy company, in a wrongful death action filed in California state court. The plaintiffs alleged that the decedent, their relative, developed mesothelioma and ultimately died as a result of his exposure to asbestos-containing products during his employment as an electrician for a major California utility company from 1954 to 1990. The plaintiffs alleged that exposure occurred, in part, at a substation located on property owned by our client. Sedgwick filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs were unable to establish the material element of causation, as the testimony of the plaintiffs’ witnesses regarding decedent’s purported exposure to asbestos on our client’s premises was based on mere speculation. The Sedgwick legal team also proffered the ruling authority of a long line of California cases beginning with Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal. 4th 689, which states that a contractor cannot recover under a premises liability theory unless the landowner owned or controlled the property, had control over the alleged dangerous condition, and affirmatively contributed to the employee’s injury. These circumstances, Sedgwick successfully argued, did not exist in this case.