In March 2013, a California Appellate Court made the decision to uphold two important principles regarding asbestos law.
The case involved Patrick Scott, the former owner of a service station, and Ford Motor Company. According to court records, Scott developed asbestos mesothelioma after being consistently exposed to asbestos-containing Ford Motor Company car parts, such as gaskets, brakes, and clutches, since the 1960s. After being diagnosed with mesothelioma at the age of 69, Scott was forced to give up his business.
In his lawsuit, Scott claimed that the Ford Motor Company had known that asbestos causes mesothelioma since 1960, but continued selling the dangerous parts until 2001. Evidence submitted during the trial also showed that Ford was on the National Safety Council in 1948, when the NSC published a study on the dangerous effects of asbestos contained in brakes. On November 19, 2012 the jury found that the Ford products had been defectively designed and that the company had acted negligently when it failed to warn Scott of the dangers involved in handling the parts. Scott was awarded a $6,825,000 settlement.
- In Ford’s appeal, the company argued that Scott was a knowledgeable user who should have understood the dangers of working with Ford products.
- However, the appellate court rejected the company’s argument because during the trial, Ford had also insisted that the dangers of asbestos had not yet been scientifically established when Scott was exposed to it.
- The opinion also noted that different standards apply for someone like Scott, the owner of a local business who wouldn’t be expected to know about the dangers of asbestos, compared to what Ford, an international business directly involved in parts manufacturing, should have known.
By siding with an asbestos mesothelioma victim against a company that likely knew the dangers of its products, this ruling upholds some important asbestos law-related principles. If you or someone you know has developed an illness resulting from asbestos exposure, it’s important to meet with a skilled personal injury attorney in Philadelphia as soon as possible.