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California State Supreme Court Reinstates Mesothelioma Verdict Against Asbestos Supplier

AsbestosIn a ruling that gives hope to many asbestos victims, the California State Supreme Court has reversed a ruling by a lower court that would have robbed the family of a mesothelioma victim of a multi-million-dollar verdict. The case involved a warehouseman and truck driver who died of the fatal disease after he and his wife filed a mesothelioma lawsuit.

William Webb was a truck driver and warehouseman between 1969 and 1979, and part of his job included delivering cement piping several times per year. The piping was manufactured by Johns-Manville Corporation and was made with crocidolite, the most toxic form of asbestos – the carcinogen was provided to Johns-Manville by Special Electric Co. Webb was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011 and he and his wife filed a successful mesothelioma lawsuit against both companies, and were awarded $5 million in damages. But after the award was announced, the judge in the trial ruled that Special Electric could not be held responsible because it had no duty to warn individuals like Webb and that the responsibility was strictly Johns-Manville’s.

The case was appealed to the California State Supreme Court, which overturned the trial judge’s ruling and reinstated the verdict. The decision was based on the court’s assessment of where the responsibility to warn rests. Though they agreed that, generally speaking, a supplier of hazardous products is required to provide warnings to consumers and employees, they maintained that this responsibility does not lie solely with the supplier if somebody else in the supply line did not provide them with the information, and particularly in a case such as this one, where Special Electric Co. did not provide Johns-Manville with information about the fact that crocidolite was more deadly than other types of asbestos. In fact, evidence was submitted showing that the company’s sales representative had falsely indicated that it was safer. Though Special Electric had argued that they should not be liable because they had relied on Johns-Manville to provide warning, the Supreme Court judges discounted this plea.

It is unknown how many people in the United States will end up losing their lives as a result of actions – and inactions – like those displayed by Special Electric Co. and Johns-Manville, but it is certain that all of those lives could have been saved had the companies acted responsibly and with care towards their employees and consumers. The mesothelioma law firm of Danziger & De Llano dedicates their efforts to fighting for the rights of those who have been harmed by this type of callous indifference. If you or someone you love is suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we can help.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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