The U.S. Supreme Court will soon take up arguments in an asbestos cancer lawsuit that could set an important precedent not only for other mesothelioma lawsuit plaintiffs but other innocent people harmed by the negligence of companies that failed to prevent foreseeable injuries. The case was brought by two surviving relatives of a man who developed mesothelioma while working aboard Navy ships, coming in contact with industrial gaskets made with deadly asbestos fibers as part of his job duties.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, entitled Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries, the defendants in the case manufactured equipment for Navy ships that did not contain asbestos themselves, but required replaceable parts manufactured by third parties that used asbestos in the construction. The plaintiffs have asked the court to hold Air and Liquid Systems liable for the victim’s passing because they claim the company knew that its products would need integrated parts manufactured with asbestos gaskets and seals by third parties.
Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the justices hearing the case to apply the “foreseeability” standard of negligence commonly used in maritime injury cases which holds that Air and Liquid Systems could reasonably foresee that aftermarket parts containing deadly chemicals could cause harm. On the other hand, the defense has asked the judges to apply a more simplified standard in tort law, holding that the duty of the party to warn rests with that party that is in the best position to control or avoid the harm, in this case, the gasket maker.