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Barron v. Martin-Marietta Corp.

United States District Court for the Northern District of California
868 F. Supp. 1203 (1994)


Facts

On the morning of August 23, 1990, Billy Barron and two other workers (Morning Workers) (plaintiffs) loaded a single missile canister manufactured by Martin-Marietta Corporation (MMC) (defendant) into magazine storage at a weapons station in California. On the afternoon of the same day, three more workers (Afternoon Workers) (plaintiffs) loaded six additional missile canisters, half of which were manufactured by MMC and the other half by another company, IMI. Both the Morning Workers and the Afternoon Workers smelled fumes leaking from the canisters during unloading and allegedly suffered severe physical and psychological injuries as a result. An investigation by the United States Navy suggested that the workers had most likely been exposed to toluene, which was present in the canisters. The investigation also determined that the levels of toluene in two of the MMC canisters loaded in the afternoon were low, and suggested that the canisters may have leaked. The Afternoon Workers and Morning Workers brought an action for negligence against MMC, claiming that their injuries had been caused by exposure to MMC’s canisters. MMC brought a motion for summary judgment, arguing that both the Morning and Afternoon Workers had failed to show that MMC had caused the alleged injuries.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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