Pep Boys has become a high-profile automotive aftermarket service chain known for the famed logo featuring depictions of Manny, Moe, and Jack. Since 1921, the company’s more than 9,000 service bays in 35 states and Puerto Rico provide maintenance and repair services, including tires and brakes. They also offer car parts for those more skilled customers to perform their own repairs.
Customer loyalty leads to catastrophe
One brand of brakes, in particular, has resulted in a mesothelioma lawsuit filed by a longtime and loyal customer. Renato C. Pizarro and his wife were diagnosed with mesothelioma. For nearly twenty years, Pizarro would frequently shop at Pep Boys to buy brakes manufactured by Bendix.
A do-it-yourselfer, Pizarro would perform annual maintenance on his and his family’s motor vehicles. The removal and installation process put him in direct contact with dust likely containing asbestos from “blowing out” the old brakes.
Trial transcripts from previous cases reveal that Pep Boys was aware of the presence of asbestos in the Bendix brakes and the potential of their customers contracting mesothelioma.
Legal counsel representatives for the company moved to dismiss the case due to a lack of evidence. The judge denied the request, citing evidence that Pep Boys’ knowledge of asbestos and the dangers of exposure going back to 1930 while continuing sales of the potentially deadly product.
While manufacturers should be held accountable for creating products that contain asbestos, retailers should also be responsible for putting those items on their shelves for sale. Longtime customer loyalty should be rewarded with the highest quality of service, not a diagnosis of a disease that, to date, does not have a cure.