The Maine Supreme Court recently handed down an important decision in an asbestos lawsuit that may have an impact on future toxic tort cases in Maine.
In Grant v. Foster Wheeler et. al., the court affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment for numerous defendants accused of liability to plaintiff for decedent’s alleged exposure to asbestos at a shipyard. Decedent died of asbestos-related lung disease in 2011, and his wife, as representative of his estate, filed a lawsuit against defendants–makers of asbestos-laden products–for negligence, failure to warn, distribution of unreasonably dangerous goods, and loss of consortium.
Asbestos litigation has become prevalent across the country, as those who were exposed to the substance decades ago have only recently emerged with diagnoses of the resulting, latent diseases. However, it’s been years since the Maine high court has issued any kind of clarification on the question of causation in these notoriously complex cases, all of which stem from circumstances that occurred decades ago. That can make proving causation a problematic issue. That was also true in Grant, but at least now asbestos injury lawyers have some clearer direction about the evidence needed to prevail in future cases. Continue reading