On August 12, 2020, the California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Four upheld Judge Gregory Alarcon’s decision to grant Summary Judgment in favor of Poole Shaffery’ s clients; PRL Glass Systems, Inc. and PRL Aluminum, Inc. (together “PRL Entities”). (Rosa Pena De Molina, et al. v. Glasswerks LA, Inc., et al.; Court of Appeal Case No. B301736, Superior Court Case No. BC611416.) Plaintiff was represented by the Metzger Law Group.
In the underlying toxic tort action, the surviving spouse and children of Decedent, Oscar Molina (“Decedent”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”), alleged that products from a number of glass manufacturers, fabricators and distributors, including PRL Entities, were responsible for Decedent developing, and ultimately succumbing to, interstitial lung disease.
Plaintiffs attempted to establish liability from the mere fact PRL Entities were regular suppliers to Decedent’s employer during the time of Decedent’s employment. However, Plaintiffs’ argument failed to appreciate that PRL Entities sold only fabricated, finished products to Decedent’s employer and that there was no evidence that any of PRL Entities’ products were cut, sand, or ground by Decedent or in his presence. Accordingly, Poole Shaffery filed a motion for summary judgment contending that Plaintiff could not establish their case against PRL Entities because there was no evidence of toxic exposure to Decedent from any of PRL Entities products. Judge Alarcon agreed and granted Summary Judgment in favor of PRL Entities.
Plaintiffs appealed the decision and attempted to argue that a triable issue existed sufficient to require a jury to decide the case. The argument rested on the following facts: (1) PRL Entities products were purchased and used during Decedent’s employment; and (2) that glass and aluminum particulates were discovered in a slide taken from Decedent’s lung. The Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Alarcon and ruled that these facts were insufficient to create a triable issue because there is no evidence that PRL Entities fabricated and finished products were manipulated in such a way to cause a potentially toxic release.
This is not the first time Poole Shaffery prevailed against the Metzger Law Group in the Appellate court as well as the State of California Supreme court. In Treatt USA, Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clarita, January 13, 2016, S230545. the California Supreme Court affirmed the California Court of Appeal ruling in favor of Poole Shaffery’ s client in an award for Motion for Summary Judgment.