Plaintiff: E. Deaton, Esq.
Defendant: Scott C. Baer, Esq.
CPI Controls, Inc. (CPI or Defendant) moves for summary
judgment contending that Plaintiff Debra Johnson (Plaintiff)
has failed to produce any evidence supporting her complaint
against CPI. Plaintiff objects to the within motion. This
Court exercises jurisdiction pursuant to Super. R. Civ. P.
23, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging that her
husband, Raymond Johnson, Jr. (Johnson), died as a result of
exposure to asbestos or asbestos-containing products sold,
manufactured, or distributed by the defendants. Johnson was a
career electrician from 1967 to 2007 and worked at various
job sites including Hoechst Chemical Incorporation (Hoechst),
where he worked from 1991 to 2007. Plaintiff alleges that
Hoechst purchased asbestos- containing products from CPI, and
that Johnson was exposed to these products during his
employment at Hoechst.
19, 2018, CPI moved for summary judgment arguing Plaintiff
has failed to produce evidence that Johnson was exposed to
any asbestos-containing product manufactured, sold, or
distributed by CPI. In response, Plaintiff argues that
genuine issues of fact exist regarding Johnson's exposure
precluding summary judgment.
well-settled that "[s]ummary judgment is 'a drastic
remedy,' and a motion for summary judgment should be
dealt with cautiously." Estate of Giuliano v.
Giuliano, 949 A.2d 386, 390 (R.I. 2008) (citing
Ardente v. Horan, 117 R.I. 254, 256-57, 366 A.2d
162, 164 (1976)). "Summary judgment is appropriate when,
viewing the facts and all reasonable inferences therefrom in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the court
determines that there are no issues of material fact in
dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Quest Diagnostics, LLC v. Pinnacle
Consortium of Higher Educ., 93 A.3d 949, 951 (R.I. 2014)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (alterations in original).
moving party bears the initial burden of establishing the
absence of a genuine issue of fact."' McGovern
v. Bank of Am., N.A., 91 A.3d 853, 858 (R.I. 2014)
(quoting 1 Robert B. Kent et al., Rhode Island Civil and
Appellate Procedure § 56:5 at 520 (2018-19 ed.)).
Once this burden is met, the burden shifts to the nonmoving
party to prove by competent evidence the existence of a
genuine issue of fact. Id. The nonmoving party may
not rely on '"mere allegations or denials in the
pleadings, mere conclusions or mere legal opinions'"
to satisfy its burden. D'Allesandro v. Tarro,
842 A.2d 1063, 1065 (R.I. 2004) (quoting Santucci v.
Citizens Bank of R.I., 799 A.2d 254, 257 (R.I. 2002)
(per curiam)). '"Rather, the nonmoving party must
affirmatively assert facts that raise a genuine issue to be
resolved."' Avco Corp. v. Aetna Cas. & Sur.
Co., 679 A.2d 323, 327 (R.I. 1996) (quoting
Hydro-Mfg., Inc. v. Kayser-Roth Corp., 640 A.2d 950,
954 (R.I. 1994)).