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Victory for Family Members in Asbestos Appeal

A 49-year old truck driver has won a victory through the appeals process against an asbestos employer. Johnny Kesner Jr. was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, an always fatal and rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Though Kesner has never worked with asbestos himself, he has clear memories of haing been exposed to it at the home of his uncle, where he spent two to three nights a week as a child. Kesner remembers that every day when his uncle came home his clothing would be covered in white, powdery dust, which was later identified as asbestos. It was later determined that the company for whom Kesner’s uncle worked had a pamphlet that warned their employees against bringing work clothing home, specifically because of the danger posed by either ingesting or inhaling the fibers of asbestos, but that the company never actually distributed the information to its employees.

It has been well established that this type of secondary exposure to asbestos can cause mesothelioma, as well as other asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos fibers are thing and easily become embedded in the cells of the body once inhaled or ingested. Once there they cause cell death and mutation that eventually grows into dangerous cancers and other diseases. Many spouses of asbestos workers have been sickened as a result of having laundered their spouses’ clothing.

When Kesner discovered that his uncle’s employer, Abex, had not provided the cautionary information, he filed suit against the company for damages, but a judge in Alameda County dismissed the case at the behest of the company. Abex had argued that they had no duty to the households or family members of their employees, and the judge agreed.

Upon appeal, the state appeals court disagreed with Judge John True, and reopened the case. Their ruling indicated that though a company may not be held responsible for damages caused to every single person with whom an employee comes into contact, there is a level of duty that “runs at least to members of an employee’s household who are likely to be affected by toxic materials brought home on the worker’s clothing.” The ruling by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco was 3-0. Kesner will now be able to proceed with his suit against his uncle’s former employer.

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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