In our previous post, we began looking at a recent federal court case dealing with the so-called “bare metal” defense that manufacturers often assert to disclaim responsibility for asbestos exposure.
As we noted, a Louisiana federal court recently ruled that manufacturer’s may be held liable for asbestos exposure when they negligently recommended the use of asbestos along with their products, or when the manufacturer did something more than merely make a product that could foreseeably be used with asbestos.
Under the ruling, courts in the Fifth Circuit now have legal precedent to look at whether a manufacturer included asbestos products in the original product, and if not, the degree to which the manufacturer’s product was involved in the design of the overall product which caused the asbestos exposure, or whether the manufacturer acted negligently in entrusting the component they manufactured to the assembler of the final product which caused the exposure. In other words, the Fifth Circuit Court of appeals recognizes a sort of middle ground on the bare metal defense compared the way other courts have dealt with it.
It isn’t clear yet how much influence the case will have in other federal courts dealing with asbestos litigation. Legal commentators have said that it could make it necessary for parties in asbestos litigation to determine which standard of the bare metal defense to apply.
Such difficulties are part and parcel of clarifying legal issues in the federal court system, and are an important reason to work with an experienced attorney when pursuing such cases. Regardless of the circumstances of a case, a skilled legal advocate can help make sure that an asbestos plaintiff has the best possible representation.