California opts not to expand take-home asbestos liability

28 Jul 2017 by under Legal, News

Lady justice Dublin L 100x100 California opts not to expand take home asbestos liability is one of the few states in the country that hears take-home or secondhand exposure cases, when a worker transfers asbestos fibers from work through clothing, tools, vehicle, etc., as MyMeso has previously reported. Earlier this month, a California Court of Appeals voted against expanding asbestos liability in lawsuits beyond the scope of precedent.

In Kesner v. Superior Court (2016), the state’s Supreme Court found “defendants owed the members of their employees’ households a duty of ordinary care to prevent take-home exposure and that this duty extends no further.” The ruling only applies to household members who were exposed to asbestos through another member’s occupation.

In the newest case, the appeals court had the opportunity to expand the precedent to those outside an employee’s household, but instead upheld the lower court’s decision to grant summary judgement to all but two defendants, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Ford Motor Co. The jury found in favor of the defendants in a decision that was then appealed.

The Second District Court of Appeals held the original decision was correct because “the evidence did not show that Exxon was within the stream of commerce for any asbestos-containing products, and Exxon did not have a duty to Marline regarding secondary exposure because Marline was not a member of Joseph’s household at the relevant time.”

California attorney Mark Behrens told Legal News Line, “The court of appeal chose not to expand Kesner to accommodate the plaintiff’s claim (because it) appears to be exactly what the [California] Supreme Court was attempting to avoid with [its] bright-line rule.”


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