EARL T. ADAMS v. AIR LIQUIDE AMERICA, L. P. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Nov 26, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Pat Montgomery Barrett, III, Nashville, Tennessee, and Lance P. Bradley and Jill S. Chatelain, pro hac vice, Port Arthur, Texas, for the appellant, Earl T. Adams.

Attorneys 2:

Samuel P. Funk, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Air Liquide America, L.P.

Joseph M. Huffaker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Empire Abrasive Equipment Corporation.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

The sole issue presented in this appeal concerns the constitutionality of Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-103, the ten-year statute of repose under the Tennessee Products Liability Act and the exceptions to the statute of repose for asbestos claims and silicone gel breast implant claims, but not for silica-related claims. After working as a sandblaster for thirty years, Plaintiff developed silica-related injuries. Thereafter, Plaintiff commenced a products liability action against several silica manufacturers and suppliers, which was filed outside the ten-year period. When the defendants moved for summary judgment contending the action was timebarred by the ten-year statute of repose, Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of the statute of repose as applied to silica claimants on equal protection grounds. Utilizing a rational basis analysis, the trial court found that silica claims were not similarly situated by injury or class to asbestos claims, and, if they were similarly situated, a rational basis exists to distinguish between the two. The trial court also found that silica has no similarity to silicone gel breast implants. Thus, the trial court summarily dismissed the action as timebarred based on the ten-year statute of repose under the Tennessee Products Liability Act, specifically Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-28-103(a). We affirm.

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