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Dismissal of Putative Class Actions for Beryllium Exposure-Caused Injuries

By FindLaw Staff on June 07, 2010 4:30 PM

In Sheridan v. NGK Metals Corp., No. 08-4373, the Third Circuit faced a challenge to the district courts' grant of defendants' motion to dismiss in two putative class actions against multiple defendants, alleging negligence in connection with beryllium exposure and seeking a medical monitoring trust fund based on their increased risk of developing chronic beryllium disease (CBD).

In affirming the dismissal, the court held that with respect to one of the suits, the plaintiff cannot prevail because under Pohl, the threshold increase in risk to establish a medical monitoring claim under Redland Soccer remains at sensitization, a point along the exposure-to-disease continuum that plaintiff has not reached.  Also, with respect to the other suit, the court held that plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence that as a proximate result of the exposure he has a significantly increased risk of contracting CBD. 

Finally, the court held that barring a third plaintiff's medical monitoring claim against a defendant is consistent with the purpose of claim preclusion because the underlying assertions in each action are the same, and because the plaintiff could have brought a medical monitoring claim in the prior suit, and as such, district court properly granted a defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings.  Therefore, the district court properly granted defendant-engineering consultants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 

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