Stevens v. Arch Wood Protection, Inc.

Civil Action No. 12-46-HRW, 2006 WL 5660362 (2016)

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Stevens v. Arch Wood Protection, Inc.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
Civil Action No. 12-46-HRW, 2006 WL 5660362 (2016)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Between 1981 and 2011, Paul Stevens worked as a pole climber and supervisor for Kentucky Power Company (Kentucky Power). As part of his job duties, Stevens came into frequent contact with wooden utility poles and sometimes fought pole fires. Kentucky Power serviced a large network. Between 1992 and 2003, Kentucky Power purchased wooden utility poles that were treated with a chemical preservative, chromated copper arsenate (CCA), from nine different suppliers. Three of the suppliers were Koppers, Inc., Langdale Forest Products Company (Langdale), and T.R. Miller Mill Company, Inc. (T.R. Miller) (collectively, the wood suppliers) (defendants). Koppers and T.R. Miller purchased CCA from Arch Wood Protection, Inc. (Arch) (defendant), while Langdale purchased CCA from both Chemical Specialties, Inc. (CSI) (defendant) and Osmose Inc. (defendant) during a certain period of time. Langdale purchased CCA almost exclusively from either CSI or Osmose for other respective periods. In 2012, Stevens died from a malignant melanoma, allegedly caused by long-term exposure to CCA. Stevens’s estate (plaintiff) filed a product-liability action against the wood suppliers, Arch, CSI, and Osmose, alleging that the companies failed to warn Stevens of the health hazards caused by exposure to CCA. Witnesses were unable to identify specific poles that Stevens had worked on. The companies asserted various defenses, many of which centered on the estate’s inability to tie Stevens’s illness to any company’s product. The companies moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilholt Jr., J.)

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