Judge Rules that a Company Cannot Avoid Asbestos Liability by Dissolving
In a victory for the family of our client, Troy Morgan, whose life was taken by asbestos-related mesothelioma, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jo-Lynne Lee ruled June 29, 2012 that a company cannot by dissolving avoid liability for its role in causing Mr. Morgan’s death. International Vermiculite, Inc., an Illinois corporation, supplied asbestos-containing materials to Kaiser Refractories and others in California in the 1960’s and 1970’s. It then dissolved in 1984.
Illinois law potentially bars claims against a corporation that are brought more than five years after the corporation dissolves. But California Corporations Code section 2010 allows a dissolved corporation to be sued and does not impose any time limit on such suits. International Vermiculite argued that Illinois law should apply to bar the Morgan family’s lawsuit against it. Judge Lee disagreed and found that California Corporations Code section 2010 allows the Morgan family’s claim against International Vermiculite to proceed.
As Judge Lee observed in her ruling, an out-of-state corporation that has benefited from doing business in California, and marketed a product in California that will potentially inflict injury many years later, may not by dissolving avoid liability for injuries inflicted by the product.
Kazan Law associate Ian Rivamonte’s work produced the wonderful result on this issue. The case is Morgan v. A.W. Chesterton Co., et al., Case No. RG11608703.