Appeals Court Reinstated Asbestos Lawsuits

A California state appeals court reinstated San Francisco lawsuits by asbestos victims this week against a manufacturer of brake shoe grinding machines that released asbestos fibers from brake linings, according to an article this week in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The asbestos personal injury lawsuits were filed by a former mechanic who suffers from asbestos disease and by the families of three workers who died of asbestos cancer in 2007 and 2008. The plaintiffs evidence showed that asbestos was emitted from brake shoe linings by grinding machines made by Hennessy Industries.

The federal government banned asbestos in new products in 1989. Asbestos fibers still exist in many older products. Hennessy, a Tennessee manufacturer of wheel service equipment, is the defendant in asbestos suits in several California courts.

Monday’s ruling overturned a 2010 decision by Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn dismissing the four lawsuits. Judge Kahn said Hennessy used no asbestos in its machines and that Hennessy was not responsible for injuries caused by dangerous substances in other companies’ products. Asbestos is known to cause diseases such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.