In a recent written decision, Judicial Hearing Officer and Retired Supreme Court Justice, John P. Lane, held that a valve manufacturer may be liable for injuries arising from the use of its products.
The defendant, Crane Company, manufactured high temperature industrial valves, which contained internal asbestos-containing packing and gaskets. Because of the temperatures at which the valves operated, the asbestos gaskets would regularly become baked on to the metal portion of the valves. Workers who maintained the valves had to grind and scrape the gaskets off the metal flanges exposing them to deadly asbestos dust. Crane Company argued that, since it did not supply the replacement gaskets to which our client was exposed, it had no duty to warn about the dangers of its product. Judge Lane’s decision reaffirms the long-standing New York rule that a manufacturer is responsible for the foreseeable uses of its products, including the use of replacement parts.