Asbestos Companies’ “Speculative” Arguments Dismissed in Lung Cancer Case

Companies accused of causing malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases work hard to avoid financial responsibility for the damages they cause. In a recent case, two companies accused of negligence in a man’s fatal asbestos-related lung cancer argued that the fact that he smoked cigarettes was proof that he wouldn’t have paid attention to warnings about asbestos’ dangers had they been provided. The court rejected this argument, calling it “speculative.”

cigarette smoke

Viacom and General Electric Are Frequent Mesothelioma Defendants

The defendants that submitted this argument are frequently defendants in mesothelioma lawsuits. Both Viacom and General Electric manufactured and provided electrical panels and transformers that are known to have been contaminated with asbestos, the carcinogenic material that has been linked to numerous fatal and serious illnesses.

Though the companies acknowledged that their products had not been marked with labels warning that they could cause mesothelioma and other illnesses, they presented a novel argument in Mr. Fahey’s case. They pointed to his years of smoking cigarettes as proof that he would have ignored warnings about dangers to his health even had they provided them, and that therefore the personal injury case against them should be dismissed.

Asbestos Victim Defends Himself Against Companies Claims

Like many victims of malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, Mr. Fahey had smoked cigarettes through much of his life, but he said that when he first took up the habit the warnings were not on the packages. It was not until later that the dangers of smoking became known, and after that he had repeatedly tried to quit.  

Though asbestos companies often point to asbestos victims’ have smoked cigarettes as a defense, most have used it to blame the cancers on nicotine rather than on their products. The assertion that Mr. Fahey’s smoking was proof that he disregarded his own safety was called “unpersuasive” by the judges hearing the case, who dismissed the companies’ motion for summary judgment, as well as their attempt to have a claim for punitive damages dismissed.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Reviewer and Editor

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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