The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas F. Hogan Chief Judge
Plaintiff, the Estate of Ava Denise Grant ("Decedent"), filed a $50 million Complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on July 12, 2004, against Aldrich Chemical Company ("Defendant"), alleging breach of warranty, strict liability, negligence (survival action) and wrongful death. Compl. ¶¶ 27-35 (Case No. 5301-04). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1446, Defendant removed the matter to this Court on September 30, 2004. [dkt. 1] Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims, arguing that the applicable statutes of limitations have run under the District of Columbia's discovery rule, leaving Plaintiff without a cause of action. Def.'s Mot. Dismiss 10-14. Upon careful review of the parties' motions, oppositions, replies thereto, and the entire record herein, the Court will grant Defendant's motion to dismiss the breach of warranty, strict liability and negligence (survival action) claims because Plaintiff's causes of action accrued under District of Columbia law on or about January 31, 1999, and the statutes of limitation therefore ran on or about January 31, 2002. As a result, the wrongful death claim stands alone without a viable underlying claim. Therefore, the Court will grant Defendant's motion to dismiss the wrongful death action as well.
From January 1979 to May 1980, Decedent worked as a senior technician and laboratory research assistant for Meloy Laboratories in Springfield, Virginia. Compl. ¶¶ 7-8. During this time, Decedent worked with various dangerous and hazardous chemicals, including toluene and tritium. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. As her employer, Meloy Laboratories did not provide Decedent with any respirator protection, protective clothing, or other safety measures to reduce or eliminate Decedent's exposure to toluene. Id. ¶ 13. Defendant supplied Meloy Laboratories with the toluene, tritium, and other chemicals Decedent used. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff also alleges that the chemicals Defendant supplied were shipped without any warnings, safety instructions, abatement rules, or preventative measures to protect Decedent from the harmful and lethal effects of the chemicals. Id.
On or about January 31, 1999, Decedent discovered a lump in her breast, diagnosed as part of an angiosarcoma disease, a relatively rare form of cancer. 2001 Compl. ¶ 18 (Case No. 01-01499). On this date, Decedent discovered facts from which it was reasonably known to her that the exposure to toluene proximately caused her angiosarcoma. Id.
On January 25, 2001, Decedent filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, Maryland, against Meloy Laboratories and Defendant, naming each company's surviving corporate entities as defendants, claiming negligence and failure to provide a safe workplace, breach of warranties, and strict liability. 2001 Compl. After those defendants removed the case to federal court, Decedent voluntarily dismissed her case without prejudice on March 28, 2003. Notice Vol. Dismissal (Case No. 02-2382). On July 10, 2003, Decedent died of angiosarcoma. Compl. ¶ 26.
Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit on July 12, 2004, in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, and Defendant removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on September 30, 2004. [dkt. 1] On March 1, 2006, the Court dismissed the case as to two of the defendants, leaving Aldrich Chemical as the only remaining defendant in the Complaint. [dkt. 12]
Plaintiff's causes of action include breach of warranty, strict liability, survival and wrongful death. The Complaint alleges: (1) Defendant did not label the chemicals as hazardous, did not provide instructions to Decedent on how to use the chemicals safely and, generally, failed to warn Decedent of the dangerous nature of working with toluene, tritium, and other chemicals sold and shipped by Defendant; (2) as a result of working with these chemicals in an unsafe manner, Decedent suffered from angiosarcoma disease in her breast and in her kidney; and, (3) as a result of the angiosarcoma, Decedent died.
On October 6, 2004, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims, arguing that under the District of Columbia's discovery rule, the applicable statutes of limitations ran on January 31, 2002, leaving Plaintiff without a cause of action on July 12, 2004.
I. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
Defendant moves to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., or, in the alternative, for summary judgment ...