American Machinist

Seller of silica not liable for silicosis. (Law & Liability).

Roger Bergfeld worked for John Deere Dubuque Works Foundry from 1972 until it closed in 1987. Bergfeld continued to work for John Deere at another plant until he retired in March 1999. During the period of Bergfeld's employment, the foundry bought industrial sand in bulk from Lockheed-Martin Corp., which it used for making molds and cores for metal castings and parts.

Bergfeld sued Lockheed-Martin, alleging that he developed silicosis from exposure to airborne sand particles at the foundry. He said Lockheed-Martin was liable for his illness because it failed to warn him of the dangers posed by the use of silica sand.

Lockheed-Martin argued that it owed no duty to Bergfeld, because John Deere was a "sophisticated user" of the sand, and therefore had the responsibility to warn and protect its employees. …

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