Landmark Appellate Victory In Favor of Victims of Take Home Asbestos Exposure

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Kazan Law Convinces a California Court of Appeal that a Dismissed Case Can Now Move Forward to Trial

In a landmark decision that offers hope for justice to all victims of take home asbestos exposure, a California Court of Appeal has ruled that a case of take home asbestos exposure that had been dismissed now can be reinstated and move forward to trial.

Kazan Law is pleased to announce that the Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court’s ruling that had dismissed a case against Pneumo Abex, a manufacturer of asbestos brakes, that was brought by Johnny Kesner, who was exposed to asbestos dust brought home from the Abex plant by his uncle, a plant employee. (Kesner v. Pneumo Abex, LLC (May 15, 2014) First Dist., Div. 3, Nos. A136378 and A136416).

Kazan Law of-counsel attorney Ted W. Pelletier joined trial counsel from the firm Weitz & Luxenberg to successfully argue the case before the Court of Appeal.

This appellate decision is of special significance because it is the first one to limit a previous court decision that prevented the owner of a piece of property from being held liable for harmful “take home” asbestos exposures that resulted from work done on the property.

That decision, Campbell v. Ford Motor Co. (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 15, was issued in November 2012. It determined that Ford was not responsible for asbestos exposure to family members brought home on the clothes of workers installing asbestos-containing insulation while constructing a new Ford factory on the property. The workers were employed by a contractor hired to build the factory – not by Ford itself.

According to plaintiffs’ counsel Mr. Pelletier, “Since Campbell, some companies have successfully argued that the decision applies to them even though they do not merely own the premises but also actually cause asbestos exposure by manufacturing asbestos products or performing the work that released the asbestos dust. Many trial courts, lacking further guidance, have applied the Campbell decision to these cases, depriving asbestos exposure victims of the right to pursue their claims against those responsible.”

According to court documents, Kazan Law helped convince the court that a defendant like Pneumo Abex, who the evidence showed both owned the land and used it to manufacture asbestos-containing brake products, and who knowingly exposed its workers to asbestos dust without any protection or warnings, can be held liable to victims exposed when the workers took that asbestos off the premises.

The court’s opinion reflects that it is published in the official reports. The opinion will thus help guide California trial courts in cases involving a defendant who actively created the asbestos exposure hazard that caused injury and who also happened to own the premises where it happened.

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Steven Kazan
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