Representation of Manufacturers in Asbestos Case

Bass, Berry & Sims represented Neles-Jamesbury and Metso Automation in significant precedent-setting litigation related to whether a product manufacturer has a duty to warn of the dangers of other manufacturers’ products that are foreseeably used together. We served as lead counsel to Neles-Jamesbury and Metso Automation in this litigation, which also included numerous co-defendants.

We obtained summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff had not properly identified a product in fact manufactured by our client and thus could not show that the plaintiff was exposed to any asbestos from a product made by our client. The appellate court overturned the grant of summary judgment on the grounds that a manufacturer has a duty to warn of other manufacturers’ products (rejecting the well-known “bare metal” defense in asbestos litigation). Working with counsel for the other defendants, our team conducted a portion of the oral argument before the Tennessee Supreme Court in the Court’s first ever Zoom hearing in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in our clients’ favor, finding that a manufacturer only has a duty to warn of risks pertaining to its own product.

Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Jessie Zeigler argued the motions and led the briefing, with significant research and drafting content provided by Sarah Miller and Scott Gallisdorfer on the appeals.

Metso Corporation is an industrial company in the mining and aggregates industries and in the flow control business. Metso is listed on the Nasdaq OMX Helsinki, Finland. Neles-Jamesbury, Inc. and Metso Automation are subsidiaries of Metso Corporation.

Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys Jessie Zeigler and Sarah Miller wrote an article in the July 2021 issue of Today’s General Counsel outlining manufacturers’ liability for their products when they incorporate parts made by others. Read more about that article here.

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