California Company May be Liable for 2nd-Hand Asbestos Exposure

June 5, 2014

A recent court appeal at the Alameda Superior Court in San Francisco gives a man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma another chance to prove his case. The man’s case was previously denied before it reached trial, but a state appeals court disagreed with the decision and allowed the mesothelioma lawsuit to be reinstated.

According to court documents, Johnny Kesner Jr., 49, was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2011, even though as a truck driver, his employment never exposed him to asbestos. However, as a teenage, Kesner spent several nights each week at his uncle’s house. His uncle was a mechanic for Abex, a company that manufactures brake linings that were littered with asbestos. Kesner’s uncle would arrive home each night in the same clothes he worked in, which were saturated with asbestos fibers.

Kesner filed a lawsuit against Abex, but Alameda County judge, John True, said that the company was not responsible for the damages caused to relatives of employees. During a 3-0 ruling on May 15, however, it was decided that a duty of reasonable protection was breached:

“The ruling allows Kesner to go back to trial and try to show that exposure to his uncle’s clothing contributed to his illness and that Abex should have done something to prevent it.The ruling “sends a clear message that employers have a duty to act responsibly, that they can’t put people in harm’s way and expect the courts to shield them from liability,” Kesner’s attorney stated.

Peritoneal meosthelioma is a life-threatening form of stomach cancer which currently has no cure. It almost always develops after exposure to asbestos, which can happen through direct contact or via second-hand exposure, such as asbestos fibers on a family member’s clothing. The disease is marked by the build-up of ascites in the stomach, leading to tumors that place severe pressure on the major surrounding organs. Over time, the tumors become more aggressive. Victims of peritoneal mesothelioma typically undergo a series of treatments in order to relieve and help reduce the spread of the tumors, yet the disease remains lethal, with an extremely grim prognosis.

Keep in mind that if you’ve been victim to asbestos exposure, whether directly through your employer or via second-hand contact, you may be entitled to damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more. It’s recommended to retain the services of an experienced mesothelioma law firm who can help you understand your legal options and provide you with the best chances of proving your case. To get started and for more information, contact our leading asbestos law firm today for a no-obligation legal consultation.


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