Brake Manufacturer Must Face Mesothelioma Victim After Claim is Reinstated by Appeals Court

One of the first things that mesothelioma victims are told when they decide to pursue a claim is that they should expect a lot of ups and downs. Asbestos companies attempt to have the cases against them dismissed, and verdicts are handed down and appealed. The journey to justice is worthwhile, but long. A recent case heard in Iowa saw a case dismissed by a district court, only to have it reinstated by the state’s court of appeals. At issue was a recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling regarding how far liability for asbestos exposure extends.

Judge's decision

Iowa Supreme Court Holds Those Who Make or Sell Asbestos Products Responsible for Mesothelioma

The mesothelioma lawsuit was filed by Paul and Mary Fankhauser. He was diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related disease after a forty year career with the Iowa Department of Transportation. He named several defendants whose products he worked with, including Abex Corporation and Honeywell International.

After Mr. Fankhauser blamed asbestos in the companies’ brakes for his mesothelioma, both defendants filed to have the case against them dismissed, arguing that state law “limits liability to those who make or sell component parts that are the source of the asbestos exposure.” This interpretation was upheld by a lower court but reversed by the state’s court of appeals, which reinstated the case.

Appeals Court Ruling Shows Importance of Supreme Court decision for Mesothelioma Victims

In reinstating the case, the Iowa Court of Appeals demonstrated the importance of a recent Iowa Supreme Court decision that extended liability to those that made or sold asbestos-contaminated products. They explained that if the companies’ argument was true, then only those companies that process raw asbestos for use in products could be held responsible for exposing mesothelioma victims to asbestos.

The appeals court judges noted that the lower court had misinterpreted the law and “missed the broader context of the statute. The decision makes clear that liability cannot be limited to those that mine, process or refine asbestos and can extend to those who put the toxic material into the flow of commerce without regard for health or wellbeing. The question of the companies’ guilt will move on to a jury.

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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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