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P.M. BRIEFING : U.S. Exempted in Asbestos Case

June 19, 1989| From Times wire services

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today barred asbestos manufacturers from suing the government to recover money they paid to a Navy shipyard worker injured by inhaling the product.

The court, without comment, rejected an appeal by two manufacturers in a case from Washington state.

Albert Lopez worked as a pipe fitter, pipe coverer and insulator at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington from 1947 to 1984. Eagle-Picher Industries Inc. settled a claim against it by paying Lopez $10,000. Raymark Industries Inc. did the same for $7,200.

Both manufacturers supplied asbestos to the Navy to insulate ships.

Lopez's claims were used in the lower courts as a test case of the government's liability for injuries suffered by shipyard workers. The Bush Administration urged the Supreme Court to reject the companies' appeal.

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