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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Monday, October 31, 2005

Court says no to household exposure to asbestos

This article from the New York Law Journal discusses a recent decision by the New York State Court of Appeals regarding liability for secondary asbestos exposure.

The Court found that an employer cannot be held liable for secondary (or household) exposure to asbestos. Their decision reversed an earlier finding by an Appellate Panel of Judges.

By a unanimous vote the Court found that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was not liable for the secondary exposure to asbestos of the wife of one its employees. The woman had washed her husband's work clothes for decades. Her husband had heavy exposure to asbestos at his Port Authority jobsites and later died of mesothelioma.

In coming to their decision the Court took into account the current state of plaintiffs asbestos filings:

"The court reiterated its "reluctance to extend liability to a defendant for failure to control the conduct of others" and expressed concern that a contrary ruling would open a Pandora's box of litigation."

The judges said they were obligated to "consider the likely consequences of adopting the expanded duty urged by plaintiffs," and indicated those potential consequences are more than they are willing to risk.

"While logic might suggest (and plaintiffs maintain) that the incidence of asbestos-related disease allegedly caused by the kind of secondhand exposure in this case is rather low, experience counsels that the number of plaintiffs' claims would not necessarily reflect that reality," Read wrote.


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