When Beverly Trapp and her children originally filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against CertainTeed Corporation and Calaveras Asbestos over her husband Dean’s death, a California court denied the family’s argument and granted summary judgment to both companies. The case had revolved around the question of whether Dean’s illness could have been caused by having lived close to where CertainTeed operated a cement pipe plant that emitted asbestos into the air, and whether CertainTeed and its asbestos supplier could be held responsible. The family appealed the lower court’s decision to clear the asbestos companies from responsibility, and upon review, the Court of Appeals of California, Sixth District agreed and will allow the case for negligence to move forward.
There were several issues raised in the appeal of the original mesothelioma lawsuit. One was the testimony provided by the asbestos companies’ expert witnesses, who claimed that there was no way that enough asbestos had been carried into the air, or that there was any way to determine whether its source was CertainTeed’s asbestos supplier. Upon review, the court agreed with the family that the statements made by the expert witnesses could not be backed up scientifically. Another key part of both companies’ argument against allowing the family’s case to move forward was the notion that they owed no duty of care to non-employees or non-employee families. On this matter, the court made a significant statement, reading in part: “We disagree with the notion that the take-home exposure” …. is somehow more dangerous or risky than the airborne exposure to asbestos alleged by appellants here. … Take-home exposure and airborne exposure are two different methods to being exposed to a harmful substance. It is certainly not clear, as the trial court assumed, that one method of exposure is more serious and life-threatening than the other. …. Moreover, we note that there is language suggesting that landowners that use asbestos and manufacturers of asbestos-containing products have a duty of care that extends beyond the premises of their facility.”…. California courts have specifically found ‘landowners have a duty to prevent hazardous national conditions arising on their property from escaping and causing injury to adjacent property.’ Likewise, it seems apparent that landowners also have a duty to prevent hazardous materials from escaping their property and causing injury to persons.”
The court’s decision will allow these grieving family members the right to pursue compensation from those they believe responsible for their loved one’s death from mesothelioma. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease and you need access to valuable resources and assistance, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.