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Ford Motor Company wins Asbestos Case in Pennsylvania Superior Court

Ford Motor Company claimed victory in an asbestos case ruling handed down by the Pennsylvania state Superior Court. The three judge panel upheld a decision that had previously been handed down by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge Arnold L. New in favor of Ford. The case involved a lawsuit originally filed back in 2011 by Paul Rowland, who contended that his mesothelioma was caused by asbestos contained in auto parts that he was exposed to between the years 1967 and 1983, when his father was an auto mechanic in Uttoxeter, England. Rowland’ father had his own garage, where he worked with Ford of Britain and Borg & Beck Britain parts. Ford of Britain is a subsidiary of Ford in the United Kingdom, and Rowland claimed that because Ford had significant control over the subsidiary that they were responsible for his exposure. The court ruled that in order to make that claim, Mr. Rowland needed to effectively pierce the corporate veil of Ford Motor Company, and that he had failed to do so.

Piercing the corporate veil means that it must be established that the parent company had significant control over the subsidiary. That could be established by showing that the subsidiary was undercapitalized or that the funds or affairs of the two were intermingled or that corporate formalities were not adhered to. The judges ruled that that was not the case. Rowland did not attempt to file suit against either Ford of Britain or Borg & Beck Britain because he claimed that the parent companies “directly or indirectly” were responsible for the production and distribution of the parts.

To further support his case against Ford, Rowland had also claimed that he had on one occasion been exposed to what he referred to as “original” Ford brakes when his father had visited him and inspected his 1990 Ford Mustang in Maryland after he had moved to the United States. The Philadelphia Court of Common Please judge ruled that as compared to Rowland’s frequent exposure and inhalation of asbestos dust in his father’s garage in England, the Maryland exposure was minimal and could not be deemed responsible for his illness.

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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