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Aldridge v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

United States District Court for the District of Maryland
34 F. Supp. 2d 1010 (1999)


Facts

Aldridge and others (plaintiffs) were former employees—or surviving representatives of former employees—who worked for Kelly-Springfield Tire Company (Kelly-Springfield) at its manufacturing plant. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Goodyear) (defendant) supplied various chemicals to Kelly-Springfield for use in its operations. Approximately 200 chemicals used at the plant were hazardous. Of these, Goodyear supplied about 10 percent. Plaintiffs sued Goodyear in 66 separate cases, which were consolidated for trial in federal district court, alleging that the chemicals supplied by Goodyear caused them to develop various occupational diseases, most predominantly cancer, cardiovascular disease, and lung disease. Three prior lawsuits had been brought by former employees of Kelly-Springfield against Goodyear, making similar allegations. The first set of cases was settled. In the second and third sets, the court granted summary judgment to Goodyear on the ground that plaintiffs had failed to establish causation. In their attempt to avoid the same fate, plaintiffs in the instant matter provided additional evidence that was intended to show a link between the chemicals provided by Goodyear and plaintiffs’ diseases. Two expert witnesses for plaintiffs submitted affidavits in which they opined that each of several named chemicals supplied by Goodyear was a “substantial contributing cause” of plaintiffs’ diseases. Each expert’s opinion was purportedly based on training, experience, scientific research, and scientific literature. Neither affidavit, however, discussed any specific training, studies, or methods; any description of how a particular chemical caused a plaintiff’s particular disease; the level of exposure required for a particular chemical to cause a particular disease; or potential alternative causes for plaintiffs’ diseases. Goodyear moved for summary judgment.

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Holding and Reasoning (Harvey, J.)

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