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Dale Burmeister And Jason Mathers Win Sophisticated User Decision In Living Mesothelioma Case

In Krafft v Allied Glove et al., Dale Burmeister and Jason Mathers moved for summary disposition in a living mesothelioma case based on a statute in Michigan that provides that a product manufacturer has no duty to warn or instruct “sophisticated users” of its products. MCL 600.2947(4). A “sophisticated user” is defined by the statute as “a person or entity that, by virtue of training, experience, a profession, or legal obligations, is or is generally expected to be knowledgeable about a product’s properties, including a potential for hazard or adverse effect.” MCL 600.2945(j). And, although employees not having actual knowledge of a product’s dangers are expressly excluded from this class of sophisticated users under the statute, in situations involving intermediate purchasers of a product, it is the knowledge of the purchaser or employer that must be examined – from either an actual knowledge or an objective point of view — to determine whether a manufacturer had a duty to warn or instruct.  In this case, the court held that all of plaintiff’s employers could be ‘generally expected” to be knowledgeable about the potential hazards posed by asbestos containing products and granted our motion for summary disposition the week before trial.