Claims against contractors as installers of materials containing asbestos are time barred under the state’s statute of repose; asbestos claims do not fall outside the statute of repose. Foster v. Spriggs, No. 49A05-0111-Cv-508, Ct. of App. of Indiana, June 5, 2003.
A widow brought a wrongful death lawsuit against 60 defendants, including the contractors that installed or removed certain construction materials, after her husband died as a result of exposure to products containing asbestos. The husband was employed as a pipe fitter since 1963. He allegedly was exposed to asbestos at various times throughout his career. He eventually contracted lung cancer and died on July 1, 1998. The defendants last completed work at the job site at issue at least 10 years prior to the time the plaintiff commenced her action against the defendants. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that under the Indiana Construction Statute of Repose the plaintiff’s claims were time barred because any work performed by the decedent at the defendant’s construction sites was performed more than 10 years prior to the commencement of the plaintiff’s action. The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff, holding that asbestos claims fell outside the statute. The appellate court reversed and granted summary judgment to the defendants. It held that the statute was designed to protect the defendants in question because they were the installers of the materials. The court noted that the statute did not apply to manufacturers, material men or suppliers.
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