Stephen R. Edwards v. Scapa Waycross Inc.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA In The Court of Appeals Stephen R. Edwards, Individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Steven Redfearn Stewart, Respondent, v. Scapa Waycross, Inc., Appellant. Appellate Case No. 2019-000649 Appeal From York County Jean Hoefer Toal, Acting Circuit Court Judge Opinion No. 5931 Heard April 14, 2022 – Filed August 3, 2022 AFFIRMED William Peele Early, of Pierce, Sloan, Wilson, Kennedy & Early, LLC, of Charleston; Joseph C. Wilson, IV, of Joseph C Wilson Law Firm LLC, of Folly Beach; S. Christopher Collier, of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, of Atlanta, Georgia; and Robert B. Gilbreath, of Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, of Dallas, Texas, all for Appellant. Mona Lisa Wallace, of Wallace & Graham PA, of Salisbury, North Carolina; Kathleen Chewning Barnes, of Barnes Law Firm LLC, of Hampton; Gregory Lynn Hyland, of Gregory L. Hyland Attorney at Law LLC, of Summerville; Thomas H. Hart, III, of Hart Law LLC, of Summerville; Frederick John Jekel, of Leventis & Ransom, of Columbia; and William M. Graham, of Wallace & Graham PA, of Salisbury, North Carolina, all for Respondent. WILLIAMS, C.J.: In this mesothelioma case, Scapa Waycross, Inc. (Scapa) appeals the trial court's (1) denial of its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV); (2) granting a new trial nisi additur for Stephen Redfern Stewart's estate, represented by his son Stephen R. Edwards, regarding survival damages; (3) denial to reallocate Stewart's pretrial settlement proceeds; and (4) refusal to admit certain bankruptcy claim forms Stewart filed against other manufacturers of asbestos-containing products. Principally, Scapa contends Stewart failed to provide legally sufficient evidence to prove Stewart's workplace exposure to its products was a substantial factor that caused his mesothelioma. We affirm. FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY Stewart was employed by Bowater Southern Paper Corporation from 1963 to 2002 in Catawba, South Carolina. During his employment, Stewart worked on only paper machine #1, a machine spanning roughly 150 yards that transformed wood pulp into paper. The machine was composed of four large dryer sections, or drums, and each section had a top and bottom dryer felt. Dryer felts were large, weighing well over one thousand pounds and measuring over 150 feet long and twenty feet wide. The wood pulp sat between the two dryer felts as the felts passed the pulp continuously over each dryer section; the felts kept the pulp against the dryer sections and absorbed moisture. A number of the dryer felts used by Bowater on machine #1 were supplied by Scapa. Of the seventy-two dryer felts Scapa sold Bowater between 1963 and 1981, twenty-three contained asbestos. Asbestos constituted between 30 and 70% of a dryer felt's total composition in that time period. An expert who tested two Scapa asbestos-containing dryer felts that Bowater used on machine #1 during Stewart's employment stated that one contained roughly 1,000 pounds of asbestos and the other contained roughly 752 pounds. While at Bowater, Stewart's job responsibilities routinely involved installing, cleaning, removing, and disposing of dryer felts and cleaning the entire machine. …

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