The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has issued an important ruling that could potentially have long-term ramifications for plaintiffs looking to bring civil asbestos lawsuits against companies or former employers that caused their mesothelioma diagnosis.
The court recently ruled unanimously in a 6-0 decision that civil lawsuits involving asbestos exposure cannot assume or submit scientific testimony that suggests even a miniscule amount of asbestos that one is exposed to can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma. Instead of this so-called 'any dose' asbestos theory, the judges instead ruled that plaintiffs must be able to show a relationship between the levels of asbestos exposure and the development of the disease they have.
Simply put, one cannot simultaneously maintain that a single fiber among millions is substantially causative, while also conceding that a disease is dose-responsive, Justice Thomas Saylor wrote in the ruling, according to the AP.
The ruling was the lastest chapter in a 2005 asbestos lawsuit between Ford Motor Co, and a former mechanic who developed mesothelioma after working with the car company's brake liners for 44 years.
Because the state supreme court ruling is still recent, it is not yet known what type of ripple effect it may have across the legal landscape. However, it does demonstrate the legal complexity that can often come with an asbestos or mesothelioma lawsuit. Even if a plaintiff is reasonably certain that their deadly illness was caused by a certain type of asbestos exposure, the facts must still hold up in court. Getting legal help with experience in the arena of asbestos law will only help a plaintiff's chances of winning their claim.
Have you developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos? Call Sokolove Law today to learn more about what is required to pursue a mesothelioma lawsuit today.