Friable Thoughts

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Court: Exxon responsible for death of worker's spouse

Kind of a misleading headline as the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that to the extent a premises defendant breached a duty to an employee of a contractor working on the premises, it would also breach a duty to that employee's spouse for any asbestos fibers he may have carried home. So, for a para-occupational exposure, New Jersey holds that the premises owner owes the same duty to the spouse of a contractor employee as the employee. The case is here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sequential Chemotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma Promising

The latest on the medical front. The new regimen still isn't a cure but a mesothelioma victim might live a little longer.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Miss. high court tosses out 18 asbestos claims

No more forum shopping in Mississippi. The news here is that Mississippi is finally coming into the mainstream and will shed its reputation of being a venue whore for asbestos cases. What a concept! Plaintiffs actually have to show some connection to the state like work history, exposure and residence. The case is here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Future of asbestos bill looks iffy

With all the fun and games in Washington over the immigration bill, it doesn't look good for the asbestos trust fund comeback. Specter and Leahy are trying to amend the bill to lower the contributions of the smaller companies but the darn uncertainty over the viability of the fund still seems to be the sticking point. Which just goes to show, you can't fix a fundamentally flawed bill by tweaking around the edges.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Re-entrainment Theory Too Speculative for Causation

A California appellate court has issued a published opinion holding that a re-entrainment theory is too speculative to establish causation. In ANDREWS v. FOSTER WHEELER, the plaintiff admitted he never worked with defendant's product or saw anyone do so. In opposition to the defendant's summary judgment, plaintiff established that defendant had equipment installed on a ship over 21 years before the plaintiff set foot on the ship.

Plaintiff's experts opined that fibers from the equipment gaskets remained (or "re-entrained") on the ship until plaintiff entered that same area. However, the general assumption that work was done on equipment was not sufficient to constitute evidence that the work occurred. Even if the assumption was valid, the court held that it would be speculation that plaintiff was exposed to those fibers from those gaskets more that 16 years later (the last known reference to defendant's equipment being on the ship.

So, at least in San Francisco, plaintiff's experts are going to have to try a little harder to establish exposure and causation to beat a motion for summary judgment.