Vicknair v. Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.

20100029 Joseph M. Vicknair; Anthony Whitaker;
Theresa Zefiretto, as personal representative
for the Estate of Liborio Zefiretto;
Robert Ulshafer; John Sehr; Ray Brunet,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Eugene P. Brunet, deceased;
Violet Cooper, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of William H.
Cooper, deceased; Janice Hilborn, individually,
and as personal representative for the Estate
of August Freeman, deceased; Mildred Pastva,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of John G. Pastva, deceased;
Cheryl Pernell, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of Eddie
Pernell, Sr., deceased; Lisa Sangerman,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Richard A. Christofretti,
deceased; Margaret Swygert, individually,
and as personal representative for the Estate
of Cromwell Swygert, deceased; Ruby Todd,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of David D. Todd, deceased;
Rona Pourier, individually, and as personal
representative for the Estate of Hobert
Ecoffey, deceased; and Patrick Blando,
individually, and as personal representative
for the Estate of Wendell Blando, deceased; Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.; A.H. Bennett
Company; A.W. Kuettel & Sons, Inc.; Border
States Industries, Inc.; Columbia Boiler Co.;
Crane Co,; Cleaver-Brooks, Division of Aqua-Chem,
Inc.; Dossert Corporation; DuctSox Corporation
f/k/a Frommelt Safety Products; Superior Essex Group
(individually and as successor-in-interest to Essex
International, Inc.); Electric Supply Corp.; Excelsior,
Inc.; Foster Wheeler, LLC; Greene, Tweed & Company;
Houston Specialty Wire & Cable Corp.; Oakfabco
f/k/a Kewanee Boiler Corporation; Rockbestos-Surprenant
Cable Corp. (f/k/a The Rockbestos Company); Riley
Stoker Corporation; Robertson Ceco Corporation, f/k/a
H. H. Roberson Company; Sprinkman Sons Corporation;
Weil McLain Company; Zurn Industries, Inc.; United Conveyor
Corporation; S.O.S. Products Company, Inc.;
Foseco, Inc.; Fuel Economy Engineering, Co.;
Burnham LLC, f/k/a Burnham Corporation;
Bryan Steam Corporation; Certain-Teed Corporation;
Foster Products Corporation (as successor-in-interest
to Foster Products Division of H.P. Fuller
Company and to the Benjamin Foster Division
of AmChem Products, Inc.); Graybar Electric;
H.P. Fuller Company; Hobart Brothers Co.;
Inductotherm Industries, Inc.;
The Jamar Company (individually and as
sucessor-in-interest and liability to the
Walker-Jamar Company); John Crane, Inc.
(successor-in-interest to John Crane-Houdaille,
Inc. and Crane Packing Company); Kelsey-Hayes
Group (a division of Varity Corporation); Linde,
Inc., f/k/a BOC Group and/or Airco, Inc.;
Lincoln Electric Co.; Praxair Distribution,
Inc.; RCH Newco II; Rhone-Poulenc, Inc. (as
successor-in-interest to Benjamin Foster,
a division of AmChem Products Company);
Stemmerich Supply Co.; Thermo Electric Co.
(n/k/a Exteco, Inc.); and Union Carbide
Corporation, Defendants and Appellees
and
999 Quebec, Inc. (a/k/a International Boiler Works
Company); ACandS, Inc. (individually and as
successor-in-interest to Armstrong Contracting &
Supply, Inc. and Keasby & Mattison Company); A.L.
Crump and Company, Inc.; American
Standard, Inc.; A.P.I., Inc. (a/k/a A.P.I.
Company of Minnesota); A.W. Chesterton Company;
Anchor Packing Company; Apollo Piping &
Supply; Asbestos Corporation, Ltd.; Atlas Turner, Inc.;
Australian Blue Asbestos, Pty.; Bell & Gosset; Bell
Asbestos Mines, Ltd.; Building Sprinkler Company,
Inc.; CBS Corporation (f/k/a Westinghouse
Electric Corporation); Chromalox (a division of
Emerson Electric Company); Combustion Engineering, Inc.
(successor-in-interest to M.H. Detrick Company,
Walsh Refractory Corporation and Refractory and
Insulation Corporation); Crown Cork & Seal Company,
Inc. (successor-in-interest to Mundet Cork Corporation);
CSR, Ltd. (a/k/a Colonial Sugar Refining Company, Ltd.)
individually and as an alter-ego of Australian Blue
Asbestos, Pty.; Dakota Welding Supply; Deltak, L.L.C.
(a Unit of Jason Inc.); Detroit Stoker; Draxton Sales;
Dresser Industries, Inc.; Durabla Manufacturing Company;
E.J. Lavino and Company, Inc.; Electric Supply Corp.;
Emerson Electric Co.; Ericsson, Inc. (f/k/a Cablec Corp.)
(as successor-in-interest to Anaconda Wire & Cable
Company); F.R.P. Products, Ltd.; F & C Supply, Inc.;
Fargo-Moorhead Insulation Company; Firebrick
Supply Co.; Fisher Governor Co.; Flintkote Company
(individually and as successor-in-interest to
Flintkote Mines, Ltd.); Flintkote Mines, Ltd.; Garlock, Inc.;
General Electric Company; George T. Walker & Co., Inc.;
Georgia-Pacific Corp.; Henry Vogt Machine Company;
Hercules Chemical Company, Inc.; Hickory
Insulation Co.; Honeywell, Inc.; Hopeman
Brothers, Inc.; Illinois Insulation Contracting
Company, Inc. (f/k/a Illinois Roofing & Insulation
Company); Ingersoll-Rand Company; Insulation Services,
Inc.; International Vermiculite Co.; Jerguson Gage & Valve;
J.H. France Refractories Company; Johnston Boiler
Co.; Lac d'Amiante du Quebec, Ltee.
(f/k/a Lake Asbestos of Quebec); Lochinvar; M.W.
Kellogg Company; MacArthur Company; Mandan
Electric Supply; Marmon Corporation; McMaster
Carr Supply Company; McNeil Refactories, Inc.;
Mellema Company; Metropolitan Life Insurance Company;
Mine Safety Appliance Company; Minnesota Mining &
Manufacturing; Northern Plumbing Supply, Inc.;
The Okonite Company, Inc.; Owens-Illinois, Inc.;
Parker Boiler Co.; Paul A. Douden; Pfizer, Inc.; Pipe,
Valve & Fittings Company; Power Process Equipment, Inc.;
Quigley Co., Inc.; Quin-T Corporation; Rapid-American
Corporation; Research Cottrell, Inc.;
Rockwell International Corporation; Rome Cable
Corp.(a subsidiary of Rome Group Inc.); Roughrider Supply;
Ryall Electric Supply Co.; Samuel Moore & Co.;
Smith-Sharpe Company; SEPCO Corporation;
Superior Boiler Works, Inc.; Sussman
Electric Boilers; The Trane Company (a division of
American Standard Inc.); U.S. Filter Co.;
Union Boiler Co.; Uniroyal, Inc.;
and Victor H. Leeby Company, Defendants

Appeal from: District Court, South Central Judicial District, Morton County
Judge Robert O. Wefald
Nature of Action: Torts (Negligence, Liab., Nuis.)
Counsel:
Appellant: David C. Thompson
Appellant: Jeanette Boechler
Appellee: Larry L. Boschee
Appellee: Kyle Brown Mansfield
Appellee: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Heather Holland Neubauer
Appellee: David Thomas Schach
Defendant: W Todd Haggart
Appellee: Steven A. Storslee
Appellee: Ronald H. McLean
Appellee: Jane L. Dynes
Appellee: Stephen W. Plambeck
Appellee: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Nicholas John O'Connell
Defendant: Thomas Dice Jensen
Appellee: Shawnda R. Ereth
Appellee: Richard John Leighton
Defendant: Kent Benedict Gravelle
Appellee: Stacey Tjon Bossart
Appellee: Paul Rudell Oppegard
Amicus curiae: Jeb Donavan Oehlke
Amicus curiae: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Amicus curiae: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Amicus curiae: Lawyer not licensed in N.D.
Appellee: Elizabeth Marie Sorenson Brotten
Appellee: Jon P. Parrington
Appellee: Scott David Jensen
Term: 10/2010   Argument: 10/07/2010  1:30pm
ND cite: 2011 ND 39
NW cite: 794 N.W.2d 746

Listen to recording of oral argument in MP3 format

Issues: Appellant's Statement of the Issues:
A.The District Court committed reversible error by granting summary judgment dismissal of the plaintiffs' asbestos-related product liability claims, failing to correctly apply the provisions of N.D.C.C. Chapter 28-01.2-04 as it disregarded defendant Phelps Dodge's burden of proof concerning all of the elements of its purported statute of limitations affirmative defense. i.Legal standards applicable to motions for summary judgment - where the summary judgment movant bears the burden of proof at trial relative to the affirmative defense of statute-of-limitations - an affirmative defense which comprise the very subject matter of the summary judgment motion itself. ii.The District Court erroneously failed to hold defendant Phelps Dodge to its burden of proof - within the context of N.D.C.C.  28-01.2-02 and 28-01.2-04 - to establish all of the elements of its statute of limitations affirmative defense.
B.The District Court committed reversible error by disregarding the plaintiffs' request made under Rule 56(f), N.D.R.Civ.P., to either deny the Phelps Dodge summary judgment motion without prejudice or to defer consideration of it until an adequate opportunity for discovery had occurred.
C.The attempted "defense" by Phelps Dodge in this defendant's resort to purported choice-of-law/preemption of North Dakota substantive law grounds, is an affirmative defense, which this defendant was required to plead in its answers pursuant to Rule 8(c), N.D.R.Civ.P., and having failed to do so, this defendant has waived this defense.

Appellee's Statement of the Issues:
This appeal presents the following issue:
The plaintiffs and their claims have no connection to North Dakota. By their attorney's admission, all the plaintiffs missed the limitation periods everywhere else. Under the Uniform Conflict of Laws-Limitations Act, N.D.C.C. ch. 28-01.2, the other states' limitation periods bar their claims unless the rarely-to-be-used escape clause applies. Did the trial court correctly grant summary judgment when the plaintiffs failed to present any evidence on the escape-clause requirement that they lacked a fair opportunity to sue?
The simple answer is yes. The Court can affirm on that ground and go no further. If the Court decides to go further and address other issues, however, Phelps Dodge asserts that the Court can affirm the dismissals of all or most of these plaintiffs' claims on two other grounds.
First, the Court can affirm the dismissal of all these plaintiffs' claims because all the plaintiffs also failed to meet the escape clause=s additional requirement of showing that the other states= limitation periods substantially differ from North Dakota's.
Second, even if North Dakota's limitation period somehow applies, the Court can still affirm the dismissal of most of these plaintiffs' claims because most of the plaintiffs did not timely sue even under that limitation period.


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Docket entries:
101/22/2010 NOTICE OF APPEAL: 01/21/2010
201/22/2010 ORDER FOR TRANSCRIPT: 01/21/2010
301/22/2010 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Maring, Mary Muehlen
401/22/2010 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Crothers, Daniel John
501/22/2010 ANNOUNCED DISQUALIFICATION: Kapsner, Carol Ronning
602/08/2010 Acknowledgment of OTR
703/11/2010 TRANSCRIPT DATED November 30, 2009, & C.O.S.
803/11/2010 DISK-tra (11/30/09) e-mailed
903/12/2010 RECORD ON APPEAL (3 vols.) & Separate Nos. 14, 30, 37, 91, 98, 99, & 100, including transcripts
1003/29/2010 Updated Affidavit of Robert E. Diehl
1103/31/2010 Updated Affidavit of Michael Sharkey & Affidavit of Jon P. Parrignton
1204/19/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF
1304/19/2010 E-FILED MOTION
1404/19/2010 ACTION BY CLERK. Granted: 05/20/2010
1504/21/2010 Record in Morton Co. No. 02-C-1680 (56 vols. & trans. dated 4-20-06) Not rec'd: 707--Substitution
1604/21/2010 of Counsel/Consent and Record in Morton Co. No. 02-C-1681 (40 vols.) Not Rec'd: #171-
1704/21/2010 Substitution of Counsel/Consent; 291-Notice of Motion & Motion to Admit Ailana T. McIntosh Pro
1804/21/2010 Hac Vice; 292--Affidavit of Aliana T. McIntosh; 293--Affidavit of Service by Mail; &
1904/21/2010 300-Order-Aliana McIntosh)
2005/18/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF (E-FILED)
2105/18/2010 E-FILED MOTION (MAT)
2205/19/2010 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (MAT). Granted: 06/21/2010
2306/15/2010 Supplemental Clerk's Certificate of Record 02-C-01681 (Entry nos. 1145 and 1146)
2406/21/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME APPELLANT BRIEF (e-mailed)
2506/21/2010 E-FILED MOTION (ATB)
2606/22/2010 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (MAT). Granted: 06/22/2010
2706/22/2010 APPELLANT BRIEF (e-filed)
2806/22/2010 E-FILED BRIEF (ATB)
2906/22/2010 APPELLANT APPENDIX (e-filed)
3006/22/2010 E-FILED APPENDIX (ATA)
3106/24/2010 Received $123.00 for e-filed ATB & ATA (Receipt #19589)
3206/25/2010 Received 7 copies of ATB from CSD
3306/25/2010 Received 6 copies of ATA from CSD
3407/09/2010 Supplemental Clerk's Certificate of Record 02-C-01680 (Entry nos. 1304 & 1305)
3507/22/2010 Motions for Adm. Pro Hac Vice & Updated Affids of Robin Conrad, Mark Behrens, & Cary Silverman
3607/22/2010 MOTION for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief (N.D. Chamber of Commerce, et al.)
3707/22/2010 ACTION BY CHIEF JUSTICE (Mot/File/ACB). Granted
3807/22/2010 AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF (N.D. Chamber of Commerce, et al.)
3907/22/2010 DISK (ACB)
4007/22/2010 APPELLEE BRIEF, with attached Addendum (Phelps Dodge Industries, Inc.)
4107/22/2010 APPELLEE APPENDIX (3 Vols.)
4207/22/2010 DISK - aeb (Phelps Dodge) (CD-ROM)
4307/28/2010 Notice of Joinder to Brief of Phelps Dodge of Defendants A.H. Bennett Company; A.W. Kuettel & Sons,
4407/28/2010 Inc.; Border States Industries, Inc.; Columbia Boil Company of Pottstown, P.A.; Dossert Corp.;
4507/28/2010 Ductsox Corporation; Electric Supply Corp.; Superior Essex Inc.; Excelsior, Inc.; Foster
4607/28/2010 Wheeler LLC; Greene, Tweed and Company; Houston Wire & Cable Company; Oakfabco, Inc.;
4707/28/2010 RSCC Wire & Cable, Inc. (f/k/a Rockbestos-Surprenant Cable Corp.); Riley Power Inc., f/k/a
4807/28/2010 Babcock Borsig Power Inc., f/k/a DB RIley, Inc., f/k/a Riley Stoker Corporation; RCH Newco II,
4907/28/2010 LLC, f/k/a Robertson Ceco Corporation an alleged successor to H.H; Robertson Company;
5007/28/2010 Sprinkmann Sons Corp. of Illinois; Stemmerich, Inc.; Weil-McLain; & Zurn Industries, LLC, f/k/a
5107/28/2010 f/k/a Zurn Industries, Inc. (from Attorneys Brotten, Mansfield & Diehl)
5207/28/2010 E-FILED NOTICE OF JOINDER (from Brotten, Mansfield & Diehl)
5308/03/2010 MOT. EXT/TIME REPLY BRIEF
5408/03/2010 E-FILED MOTION
5508/04/2010 ACTION BY CLERK. Granted: 09/08/2010
5608/04/2010 Joinder of Crane Co. (from Atty. Storslee)
5708/04/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Crane Co. (from Atty. Storslee)
5808/04/2010 Joinder of Jamar Co. and Walker Jamar Company (from Atty Richard Leighton)
5908/04/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Jamar Co. and Walker Jamar Company (from Atty. Leighton)
6008/04/2010 Joinder of S.O.S. Products Company and United Conveyor Corporation (Atty. Schach) e-filed
6108/04/2010 E-FILED Joinder of S.O.S. Products Company and United Conveyor Corporation (Atty. Schach)
6208/05/2010 Joinder of Bryan Steam, LLC (from Atty. Stacey Tjon Bossart)
6308/05/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Bryan Steam, LLC (from Atty. Bossart)
6408/05/2010 Joinder of Foseco, Inc. (from Atty. Nicholas O'Connell)
6508/05/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Foseco, Inc. (from Atty. O'Connell)
6608/06/2010 Joinder of Airco, Inc.; Hobart Brothers; Lincoln Electric; & Praxair Distribution, Inc.(from atty.
6708/06/2010 Paul Oppegard)
6808/06/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Airco; Hobart Brothers; Lincoln Electric; & Praxair (from Atty. Oppegard)
6908/06/2010 Joinder of Graybar Electric (from Atty. Paul Oppegard)
7008/06/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Graybar Electric (from Atty. Oppegard)
7108/06/2010 Joinder of Inductotherm, Inc. (from Atty. Paul Oppegard)
7208/06/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Inductothern, Inc. (from Atty. Oppegard)
7308/06/2010 Joinder of Kelsey-Hays Company (from Atty. Paul Oppegard)
7408/06/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Kelsey-Hays Company (from Atty. Oppegard)
7508/09/2010 Joinder of Burnham LLC (from Atty. Ereth)
7608/09/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Burnham LLC
7708/10/2010 Joinder of CertainTeed Corp., H.P. Fuller Co., Foster Products Corp., Rhone Poulenc, Inc. and
7808/10/2010 Union Carbide Corp.
7908/10/2010 E-FILED Joinder of CertainTeed HP Fuller Foster Products Rhone Poulenc & Union Carbide(AttyDynes)
8008/10/2010 Joinder of Fuel Economy Engineering Co. (from Atty. Michael Sharkey)
8108/10/2010 E-FILED JOINDER of Fuel Economy Engineering Co. (from Atty. Sharkey)
8208/11/2010 Joinder of Cleaver-Brooks, Inc. (Atty Scott Jensen) e-filed
8308/11/2010 E-FILED Joinder of Cleaver-Brooks, Inc.
8408/11/2010 Joinder of John Crane, Inc. (Atty Scott Jensen)
8508/11/2010 E-FILED Joinder of John Crane, Inc.
8608/16/2010 Joinder of Exteco, Inc. (f/k/a Thermo Electric Co.) (Atty. Scott Jensen)
8708/16/2010 E-FILED JOINDER of EXTECO, INC. (f/k/a Thermo Electric Co.) (Atty Scott Jensen)
8809/08/2010 REPLY BRIEF of Appellants (E-filed)
8909/08/2010 E-FILED BRIEF (RYB)
9009/08/2010 Supplemental Appendix of Appellants (e-filed)
9109/08/2010 E-FILED APPENDIX (Supplemental Appendix)
9209/15/2010 $15.50 surcharge for Supplemental Appendix (Receipt #19962)
9309/16/2010 Received 7 copies of RYB from CSD
9409/16/2010 Received 6 copies of Supplement to RYB from CSD
9509/21/2010 NOTICE OF ORAL ARGUMENT SENT
9609/23/2010 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Schmalenberger, Allan L.
9709/23/2010 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Hodny, William F.
9809/29/2010 SITTING WITH THE COURT: Leclerc, Lawrence A.
9910/07/2010 APPEARANCES: David C. Thompson; Larry L. Boschee
10010/07/2010 ARGUED: David C. Thompson; Larry L. Boschee
10110/07/2010 ORAL ARGUMENT WEBCAST
10210/08/2010 1st Supplemental Clerk's Certificate of Record (entry nos. 120 - 123)
10310/15/2010 2nd Supplemental Clerk's Certificate of Record (entry nos. 124 & 125)
10402/18/2011 DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED
10502/18/2011 UNANIMOUS OPINION: VandeWalle, Gerald W.
10602/18/2011 Costs on Appeal taxed in favor or appellees
10702/21/2011 Judgment Sent to Parties
10803/15/2011 MANDATE
10903/28/2011 RECEIPT SIGNED BY DISTRICT COURT CLERK'S OFFICE

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