The estate of a career pipefitter who died from mesothelioma recently lost an appeal on claims that asbestos exposure caused his cancer and the exposure, in the course of his employment, violated the state’s safe place statute. [ This was an appeal of the trial court’s ruling that plaintiff’s complaint was barred by the Wisconsin construction statute of repose. ]
Norbert Nooyen worked for contractors involved in the construction of utility-owned nuclear power plants north of Sheboygan in the 1970s….
In 2016, Nooyen was diagnosed with mesothelioma. In 2017, he filed a lawsuit against the utility companies. In 2018, the case pending, Nooyen died from the disease. The lawsuit continued under Nooyen’s estate, through administrator Jacqueline Nooyen.
The complaint alleged that Nooyen’s mesothelioma was caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers released while working in the power plants, and the power plant owners knew or should have known of the hazards of asbestos….
But the defendant companies argued that Nooyen’s complaint was barred by the [ Wisconsin construction statute of repose ], which barred causes of action against entities or persons “involved in the improvement to real property” after 10 years immediately following the date of substantial completion of the improvement….
The Brown County Circuit Court agreed with the defendants and dismissed the case. In Nooyen v. Wisconsin Electric Power Company, 2019AP289 (Jan. 22, 2020), a three-judge panel for the District III Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court decision….
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