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June 09, 2014
San Francisco, California - A California appeals court has reversed a trial court’s decision, ruling in favor of plaintiff and mesothelioma victim Johnny Blaine Kesner, Jr., who filed a lawsuit against several defendants after being diagnosed in February, 2011. With the exception of Pneumo Abex, all the defendants were former employers of Mr. Kesner’s. Pneumo Abex employed his uncle, but Mr. Kesner alleged that he was exposed to asbestos through regular contact with his uncle’s contaminated work clothes in the ’70s.
The trial court granted Pneumo Abex’s motion for a nonsuit after the company argued that it owed no duty to “family members of workers for take-home exposures.” Mr. Kesner appealed, and the ruling was overturned when the First Appellate District Court of Appeals referred to aspects of the Rowlanddecision to determine that a company is obligated to warn its employees of asbestos dangers that may extend to family members.
Regarding Pneumo Abex’s responsibility and the company’s ability to anticipate such safety issues, Judge Stuart Pollak wrote, “As a general matter, harm to others resulting from secondary exposure to asbestos dust is not unpredictable. The harm to third parties that can arise from a lack of precautions to control friable asbestos that may accumulate on employees’ work clothing is generally foreseeable.”
Judge Pollak also pointed out that this ruling was specific to the details of the case, and that the main reason the decision was reversed was on account of the fact that Mr. Kesner regularly visited his uncle, and was thus consistently exposed to the hazardous dust. Asbestos exposure is primary cause of mesothelioma. Each year, there are approximately 3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses made.Share your thoughts with us on Facebook