Won an asbestos failure to warn case for Foster Wheeler in the Fourth Circuit.
Ripley v. Foster Wheeler
(4th Cir. 2016)
WTO attorneys won reversal and remand for Foster Wheeler from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. At issue was application of the “government contractor defense” (for federal immunity) in an asbestos failure to warn case where the plaintiff claimed our client was liable for the illness and death of a former Navy shipyard worker. Law360 reported the win on November 1, 2016.
This was an issue of first impression for the Fourth Circuit. The doctrine of federal immunity is well established in design defect cases, but significantly less so in failure to warn cases. The government contractor defense states that a military contractor is immune from liability if the product at issue was designed and built under government control and supervision. The district court ruled that the government contractor defense does not apply in failure to warn cases. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court and held that government contractor immunity is a valid defense in failure to warn cases.