Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Blouin v. Albany International Corp.

Superior Court of Rhode Island

March 13, 2017

HENRY R. BLOUIN and JANET BLOUIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALBANY INTERNATIONAL CORP., et al., Defendants.

          Providence County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: Vincent L. Greene, IV, Esq.

          For Defendant: Monica R. Nelson, Esq.Andrew R. McConville, Esq.

          DECISION

          GIBNEY, P.J.

         The Defendant New England Insulation Company (Defendant or NEI) seeks summary judgment in the above-entitled personal injury matter brought by Plaintiffs Henry R. Blouin (Mr. Blouin or the Decedent) and Janet Blouin (the Plaintiffs, collectively). The Defendant contends that summary judgment should be granted because, under Rhode Island law, the Plaintiffs have not provided sufficient evidence of product identification or causal connection. Further, the Defendant maintains that the Plaintiffs' claims are barred by the Rhode Island Statute of Repose. Finally, the Defendant argues that Rhode Island substantive law should apply to the instant action because the Plaintiffs have failed to provide proper notice of their intent to apply Maine substantive law. The Plaintiffs contend that the application of Maine law is proper and that sufficient notice has been provided through their Motion in Opposition to Summary Judgment. Additionally, the Plaintiffs maintain that sufficient product identification has been asserted under either Rhode Island or Maine law to survive summary judgment and that neither the Maine Statute of Repose nor the Rhode Island Statute of Repose would bar their claims. This Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 8-2-14.

          I Facts and Travel

         The Plaintiffs filed the underlying personal injury action on June 26, 2013, asserting claims for negligence and breach of warranty. The Plaintiffs named numerous defendants, including NEI, and alleged that Mr. Blouin was exposed to asbestos-containing products during his career as a laborer at various job sites. Mr. Blouin worked at paper mills, hospitals, universities, and Bath Iron Works from approximately 1969 to 1983, and he was a member of Local 327 Laborer's Union from 1969 to 1990.

         Mr. Blouin was deposed for three days in September of 2013. In that deposition, Mr. Blouin stated that he worked as a laborer for general contractors, such as Walsh Construction, at jobsites located in southern and central Maine. Mr. Blouin further testified that he worked at International Paper Mill on at least five "shutdowns" for multiple contractors from the late 1960s to the early 1970s; shutdowns occurred when the mill was closed for maintenance or repair work and lasted anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. While working at the mill for Walsh Construction, Mr. Blouin worked with pipe covering.

         From 1973 to 1976, the Decedent worked at International Paper Mill in the powerhouse and on paper machines. While employed at International Paper Mill, Mr. Blouin cleaned up after all trades throughout different areas of the mill. Mr. Blouin's co-worker and brother, Larry Blouin, testified that he and the Decedent worked together at the mill from 1973 to 1976. Mr. Larry Blouin stated that he and the Decedent worked around other trades, including pipefitters, and that there were insulation subcontractors present at the mill. Mr. Larry Blouin testified that his work with the Decedent involved removing pipe covering and working around insulators who were installing pipe covering.

          Maurice Morin, a worker at International Paper Mill, testified in another suit that he worked on the paper machines at the mill from 1956 until 1972. Mr. Morin recalled that NEI was the insulation contractor that performed the insulation work at International Paper Mill, since he remembers seeing its name on the trucks. He testified that NEI installed pipe covering at the mill and that this process created dust.

         II Parties' Arguments

         The Defendant contends that the substantive law of Maine should not apply to the instant action because the Plaintiffs failed to comply with Super. R. Civ. P. 44.1, which states that "[a] party who intends to raise an issue concerning the law of a foreign country shall give notice by pleadings or other reasonable written notice." The Defendant argues that since the Plaintiffs failed to provide notice, this Court should not entertain arguments on the application of Maine law and should not apply Maine law to the present Motion for Summary Judgment.

         The Defendant further maintains that under Rhode Island substantive law, summary judgment should be granted because Plaintiffs have failed to provide product identification or evidence of a causal connection. Further, the Defendant contends that the Plaintiffs' claims are barred under Rhode Island's Statute of Repose because the Defendant, as an insulation contractor, clearly qualifies for protection under the statute's language.

         The Plaintiffs contend that Maine substantive law should apply to the instant action and they raise a choice-of-law argument in their brief in opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. In that choice-of-law argument, the Plaintiffs contend that there is a true conflict between Rhode Island and Maine substantive law. They maintain that the State of Maine has a superior interest in the matter because factually, the work, the injury, and relationship between the parties all occurred in Maine. The Plaintiffs additionally claim that they have provided sufficient notice of their intent to apply foreign law in their opposing brief, since the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure allow for notice in the pleadings or otherwise.

         Under Maine law, the Plaintiffs maintain that they have offered sufficient evidence of product identification in relation to NEI. They contend that under a recent Supreme Judicial Court of Maine holding, they have provided evidence to show proper product nexus and causation sufficient to survive summary judgment. Additionally, the Plaintiffs aver that their claims are not barred by either the Maine or Rhode Island Statute of Repose because the Defendant does not meet the statutory definitions under either statute.

         III

         Choice-of-Law

         A

         Notice

         The Defendant contends that the substantive law of Maine should not apply to the present action because the Defendant was not provided proper notice as required by Super. R. Civ. P. 44.1. The Plaintiffs contend that proper notice was provided via their objection brief under the Rhode Island Rules of Civil Procedure. The Plaintiffs assert ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.