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McCann v. Foster Wheeler LLC

8 Cal. 4th 68, 105 Cal. Rptr. 3d 378, 225 P.3d 516 (2010)

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McCann v. Foster Wheeler LLC

California Supreme Court

8 Cal. 4th 68, 105 Cal. Rptr. 3d 378, 225 P.3d 516 (2010)

Facts

In 1957, Terry McCann (plaintiff) lived in Oklahoma and worked for a construction company. He was allegedly exposed to asbestos during the installation of a boiler at an Oklahoma oil refinery. Foster Wheeler LLC (defendant), which was headquartered in New York, designed and manufactured the boiler for the refinery. McCann went on to work at various jobs in two different states before moving to California in 1975, and he continuously lived in California thereafter. In 2005, McCann was diagnosed with mesothelioma, caused by exposure to asbestos. McCann sued Foster Wheeler in California state court, and his action was timely under the relevant California statute of limitations. Foster Wheeler moved for summary judgment on the ground that the action was barred under the relevant Oklahoma statute of repose. The Oklahoma statute provided that any cause of action against a designer or constructor of an improvement to real property must be filed within 10 years of substantial completion of the improvement. The trial court applied Oklahoma law and dismissed Foster Wheeler as a defendant. The court of appeals reversed, holding that Oklahoma’s interest in its statute of repose was not significant as applied to Foster Wheeler, which was headquartered in New York, and that California’s interests would be more impaired if its statute of limitations was not applied. The Supreme Court granted review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (George, C.J.)

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