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Court makes ruling in product liability, negligence claims

A court in Pennsylvania recently made a ruling in an asbestos case in regards to claims filed by a man who was exposed to asbestos during his time in the U.S. Navy. According to the lawsuits, the man served on naval ships that were insulated with asbestos. For many years, it was common practice for asbestos to be used in the production of ships and many Navy veterans have suffered devastating illnesses as a result of being exposed to these materials.

In this recent case, the man filed claims against multiple shipbuilders citing product liability and negligence. A court disposed of the strict product liability claims, ruling that the ship itself was not a product. However, the negligence claim will proceed. The case, while legally complex, can give our North Carolina readers some insight into the many different factors that can be involved in asbestos litigation.

In the rulings, a number of complex issues were addressed, including maritime laws, state laws and whether the purchaser of an asbestos product or the manufacturer should be held liable. Based on the arguments, the court determined that the manufacturer of the asbestos-containing insulation, and not the shipbuilders, are the ones who are supposed to warn of the dangers of their product. 

But the court also found that the shipbuilders could be cited for negligence because they failed to "exercise reasonable care" in regards to warning people about the presence of -- and dangers associated with -- the asbestos on the ships.

Filing a lawsuit regarding asbestos violations can be a confusing and intimidating process. There are a number of challenges that can come up in the process of asbestos litigation that can leave people feeling overwhelmed and helpless. However, with the help of an attorney who is familiar with this process, victims of negligent asbestos practices can pursue the compensation they deserve.

Source: Legal Newsline, "Asbestos defendants win product liability claims, still face negligence claims," Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Feb. 11, 2014

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