Elardo, Bragg, Appel & Rossi

Wrongful Death – Choice of Law

POUNDERS V. ENSERCH E&C, INC., 276 P.3d 502, 632 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 26 (APP. DIV. 1 04/17/2012). Widow of welder who died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos while working at power plant at brought personal injury and wrongful death action against power plant architect, pump supplier, and boiler manufacturer. The trial court granted defendants’ motion to apply New Mexico law and subsequently entered summary judgment for defendants based on New Mexico’s statute of repose. Widow appealed. HOLDING: Under Arizona law, the laws of the state where the injury occurred is presumptively apply. The Court held that even though the mesothelioma may not have developed until Pounders had moved to Arizona, the “injury” occurred in New Mexico because the forces allegedly put in motion by the defendants (exposing Pounders to asbestos) first took effect when he inhaled the asbestos while living and working in New Mexico.