Michael Antikainen and Anne Schmidt Obtain a Summary Judgment on Behalf of Client.
The plaintiff alleged asbestos exposure through work with piping/valves/equipment as well as exposure from insulators and other trades/contractors present.
The defendant argued in its Summary Judgment Motion that Wisconsin's Construction Statute of Repose barred the plaintiff's claims because the work done was an improvement to real property, the defendant was the owner of the facility, and the claim was brought outside of 10 years from the time that the plaintiff worked there.
The plaintiff argued that the Statute of Repose did not apply because the work was not an improvement to real property, rather the work was maintenance. They also argued that the Statute of Repose only applies to structural defects as opposed to "unsafe conditions associated with the structure" (of which there is a distinction in Wisconsin). Finally, the plaintiff argued that an exception in the Statute of Repose for damages that occurred prior to April 29, 1994 applied because the plaintiff was "damaged" upon inhalation of asbestos when he was present.
It was ruled that the work done while the plaintiff was present was an improvement to real property, that the alleged asbestos exposure and airborne asbestos from work done to an improvement to real property is a structural defect, and that the plaintiff was not damaged until he had an accrued cause of action upon his meso diagnosis.
Summary Judgment was granted for the defendant.