Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

AUDREY VITALE, ET AL. v. BURNHAM, LLC, ET AL.

Torts — Asbestos exposure — Dispute of material fact

This appeal arises from the Circuit Court for Baltimore City’s ruling granting Burnham and Weil-McLain’s, appellees, motion to dismiss, Audrey Vitale, and her children, Ralph Vitale, Jr., Tony Vitale, Patricia Smith, Maria Pycha, and Gina Messersmith’s, appellants, wrongful death suit, and the court’s subsequent denial of appellants’ motion to reconsider.

Appellants filed a wrongful death suit against appellees, which alleged that Ralph Vitale, Sr. (“Vitale”), contracted malignant pleural mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos. 1 On April 18, 2016, appellees filed for summary judgment on issues including the Statute of Repose. The Statute of Repose, Md. Code (1973, 2013 Repl. Vol.), Courts & Judicial Proceedings Article (“CJP”) § 5-108(a),2 precludes actions for personal injury and death resulting from the defective and unsafe condition of an improvement to real property that occurs more than 20 years after the improvement first becomes available for its intended use.

After a hearing on May 27, 2016, the circuit court granted summary judgment based on the Statute of Repose. On June 6, 2016, appellants filed a motion to reconsider. On March 27, 2016, the circuit court denied the motion. Appellants filed this timely appeal. Appellants ask us three questions:

1. Whether the circuit court exceeded its authority by striking the motion for reconsideration of summary judgment?

2. Whether it was error to preclude the submission of material evidence on reconsideration of summary judgment?

3. Whether evidence presented on reconsideration showed a dispute of a material fact regarding appellees’ status as manufacturers of asbestos-containing products (boilers) for purposes of the exception to the Statute of Repose?

Read the opinion