Product Liability -- 2015

Mobil Corporation v. Johnson   (Florida Court of Appeals)

Dose-specific evidence in asbestos case

This appeal involves the intersection of science and law with respect to what is believed to be the first case to be tried of the thousands of asbestos cases that have been pending in the Florida courts for over a decade and that involve plaintiffs with little or no present physical impairment. The case involves a claim for damages arising from latent injuries caused by exposure to chrysotile asbestos included in a joint sealant and caulking product called Dum Dum. The plaintiff claimed that exposure to Dum Dum was a substantial contributing cause of his benign (non-cancerous) pleural plaque condition. However, the plaintiff provided no evidence of his level of exposure to the product or whether his exposure was sufficient to cause the damages alleged. Nonetheless, the trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. This case is an appeal in Florida’s intermediate appellate court.

The NAM argued in its brief that, if courts permit liability to be imposed without requiring plaintiffs to show that they have received a sufficient dose of a defendant's product to develop the condition alleged, then there is a substantial risk that defendants in the countless pending Florida asbestos cases - as well as defendants in other latent injury cases - could be held liable for harms that are the fault of others. Dose-specific evidence is especially important in asbestos injury cases because courts have acknowledged that asbestos-containing products are not uniformly dangerous.

The parties settled the case in late 2015.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (October 17, 2014)


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