NY Appeals Court To Decide Asbestos Exposure Issue: Just how much exposure to asbestos will make someone sick? Is that a question anyone can answer? Well, the New York Appeals Court thinks so.
That’s why they’ve taken up the case of Arthur Juni Jr. vs. Ford Motor Company et al, determined to decide how to measure whether an individual’s particular level of exposure to asbestos is enough to cause a diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Juni brought the case against Ford and others in 2012, claiming his four decades of exposure to asbestos at Ford plants in Orange and Rockland were responsible for his malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The plaintiff claimed that he worked without benefit of a respirator for his first 25 years as an employee for the automobile giant, inhaling chrysotile asbestos fibers from products the mechanic encountered each day on the job.
This included items such as brakes, brake pads, gaskets, and clutches.
The original suit found in favor of Juni’s widow (he died in 2014) in the amount of $11 million but Ford’s attorneys appealed on the grounds that the jury’s decision could not be upheld because the experts at trial failed to quantify the mechanic’s exposure to asbestos, and therefore could not directly link Ford’s products to his disease.
Attorneys for Juni had called two expert witnesses that testified as to the link between Juni’s consistent exposure to the toxin and his mesothelioma diagnosis, but in a decision offered last year by the Appellate Division it was opined that the testimony wasn’t enough to hold Ford Motor Company liable for Juni’s disease.
“Plaintiff’s experts effectively testified only in terms of an increased risk and association between asbestos and mesothelioma but failed to either quantify the decedent’s exposure levels or otherwise provide any scientific expression of his exposure level with respect to Ford’s products,” the appellate court wrote.
Of course, there was no way that attorneys for Mr. Juni and his widow could provide details on the exact amount of exposure the Ford employee was subjected to for more than 40 years, but it is likely that the amount was quite substantial.
That much exposure on a consistent basis, experts argued, surely contributed greatly to his risk of developing asbestos-caused cancer.
A decision by the Appellate Court is expected to be handed down in November. No doubt other employees who worked for Ford and other carmakers who are now sick with mesothelioma cancer will be keeping an eye on the case and its outcome.