Appeals Court Says Ford Motors Not Liable in Asbestos Case

The New York Supreme Court has ruled that Ford Motor Company is not responsible for the death of an individual who worked as a garage mechanic on Ford automobiles for decades and was regularly exposed to asbestos-containing auto parts.

Appeals Court Says Ford Motors Not Liable in Asbestos CaseIn the case of Mary Juni versus Ford, A. O. Smith Water Products, et al, the court found that Ford Motor Company is not responsible “viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to establish that respondent Ford Motor Company’s conduct was a proximate cause of the decedent’s injuries …”.

Hence, the $11 million verdict originally awarded to Mrs. Juni – whose husband Arthur Juni died of aggressive mesothelioma a few years ago – was rescinded.

In the suit, Mr. Juni claimed that Ford’s failure to warn him of the dangers of exposure to its asbestos-containing products was a substantial cause of his illness.

Although the jury returned a verdict in his favor, finding Ford Motor Company to be 49 percent liable, Supreme Court granted Ford’s motion to set aside the verdict.

During the trial, expert witnesses for the plaintiff testified that at the time of Arthur Juni’s employment, Ford products such as brake pads and clutches contained chrysotile asbestos and that Juni would have definitely inhaled asbestos dust caused by the work he and other mechanics in the garage were performing.

The jury also saw various internal Ford documents which demonstrated that Ford recognized that friction products in its vehicles “overexposed” mechanics to asbestos fibers, which could cause cancer, and noted that while Ford took steps to protect its own employees from exposure to dust from these products, it did not reach out to others who performed after-production work on their automobiles.

While this current case was not a victory for the plaintiff, many other mechanics have successfully sued Ford and other automobile manufacturers for illnesses caused by exposure to asbestos.

Every case is different, of course, and many who have been touched by asbestos diseases have been successfully in gaining compensation to assist with medical bills and other expenses.