Horvitz & Levy LLP represented defendant Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc. in this asbestos injury action. Plaintiff Loren Collin alleged that he contracted mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products made by 22 defendants, including Kaiser Gypsum, over the course of his 40-year career in construction. The trial court granted summary judgment for Kaiser Gypsum on the ground that Collin failed to establish a triable factual issue as to whether he was exposed to a Kaiser Gypsum product that contained asbestos.
The California Court of Appeal (Third Appellate District) affirmed the defense judgment in a published opinion. The undisputed evidence showed that Kaiser Gypsum manufactured both asbestos-containing and asbestos-free joint compound products during Collin’s career. But Collin did not know if there was asbestos in any of the Kaiser Gypsum joint compound products he may have encountered, and he could not say whether any of his Kaiser Gypsum product encounters took place before 1976—the year the company began selling only asbestos-free joint compound. The Court of Appeal concluded that Kaiser Gypsum was entitled to summary judgment because Collin could not offer evidence from which a jury could conclude, without speculating, that he was ever exposed to a Kaiser Gypsum product that contained asbestos.