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Promaulayko v. Johns Manville Sales Corporation

Supreme Court of New Jersey
562 A.2d 202 (1989)


John Promaulayko died as a result of asbestosis he contracted while working for Ruberoid Corporation (Ruberoid). There were no warnings regarding the dangers of asbestos on the bags of asbestos Promaulayko handled. Ruberoid had purchased its asbestos from Leonard J. Buck, Inc. (Buck) (defendant), which had purchased the asbestos from Amtorg Trading Corporation (Amtorg) (defendant). Amtorg was not the manufacturer of the asbestos, but was formed to promote trade between the United States and the Soviet Union, where the asbestos at issue was originally manufactured. Amtorg’s employees were Soviet citizens living in the United States. Neither Buck nor Amtorg ever had physical possession of the asbestos. Promaulayko’s wife (plaintiff) filed a products-liability suit against Buck and Amtorg. The jury found that all of the asbestos Buck sold to Ruberoid was provided by Amtorg. Based on this, the trial court granted Buck indemnification from Amtorg. The appellate court reversed, ruling that Buck could obtain indemnification only from the original manufacturer, not from an intermediate distributor like Amtorg. Buck appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Pollock, J.)

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