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Court: Appeal by Pfizer to drop asbestos cases rejected

Victims of asbestos-related diseases often have a very difficult time understanding how they were exposed, when they were exposed and who is responsible for the exposure. And to make matters worse, many companies will do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for negligently exposing workers and consumers to asbestos. 

However, with legal representation, victims of asbestos exposure can make sure that all companies responsible for putting out asbestos products are held accountable, even when they try to deny it. For example, drug maker Pfizer Inc. recently made a move to try and escape liability in a number of asbestos cases, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently denied this move.

The case involves a number of asbestos lawsuits that had been filed against the world's largest drug maker that stemmed from a product made by a company called Quigley. Until the 1970s, the company manufactured products using asbestos. In 1968, the company was acquired by Pfizer and by 1992 the company had filed for bankruptcy and was nearly out of business.

When lawsuits stared to be filed against Pfizer by victims who had been exposed to the asbestos in Quigley products, the drug maker tried to avoid taking responsibility. They argued that Quigley's bankruptcy move essentially protected Pfizer from being held accountable. They claim that they were not the ones who manufactured the products in question.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Pfizer's logo did, in fact, appear on the products made by Quigley so they can be held accountable for those products. The Supreme Court refused to grant an appeal by Pfizer to have the cases against them dismissed.

Understanding who is accountable for asbestos exposure can be a very complex process. Because many of the companies who manufactured asbestos decades ago may no longer be in business, victims often need help figuring out who is responsible for asbestos exposure. The effects of this exposure can be devastating if victims develop illnesses such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, and treating these diseases can be quite costly. It is for this reason that victims should remember that they have the right to pursue compensation from the party responsible for their exposure.

Source: Bloomberg, "Pfizer Loses Top Court Bid for Shield From Asbestos Suits," Greg Stohr, June 24, 2013

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