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.