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Gray v. Badger Mining Corp.

Minnesota Supreme Court
676 N.W.2d 268 (2004)


Facts

Lawrence Gray (plaintiff) worked at Smith Foundry from 1951 to 1998. Smith Foundry used sand to create molds in which metal objects were cast. Badger Mining Corporation (Badger Mining) (defendant) supplied Smith Foundry with sand in bulk prior to 1981 and then again beginning in 1992. Gray brought suit against Badger Mining and other suppliers of sand for negligence, strict liability for failure to warn, and breach of warranties of merchantability and fitness for intended purpose, alleging that his repeated exposure to silica dust caused silicosis of the lungs. At trial, Gray produced evidence that Badger Mining had knowledge of the special hazards involved in using sand for foundry purposes. Specifically, when sand is knocked off the metal casting, the sand is pulverized to small sub-micron sized particles of dust. These particles were then breathed in by Gray. The trial court denied Badger Mining’s motion for summary judgment and it appealed. The appellate court reversed, holding that Badger Mining had no duty to warn Gray of the dangers of silica dust because his employer, Smith Foundry, was a “sophisticated purchaser” and Badger Mining was a “bulk supplier.” Gray appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Hanson, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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