Duty to Warn Extended to Nephew in California Asbestos Trial

Failing to supply adequate warnings about the dangers of asbestos is just one way in which asbestos companies and employers in general have deliberately misled and poisoned their workers throughout the years. The side effects of prolonged asbestos exposure have been recorded since Roman times and with thousands of mesothelioma patients diagnosed every year, it is insulting to watch victims suffer when exposure could have been avoided with the proper warnings and precautions.

In many asbestos trials, employers are found to have failed in their “duty to warn” employees of the dangers of asbestos. We have touched a lot on the fact that mesothelioma patients are mostly older males who have held jobs in blue-collar trades, where they were exposed to the substance. The employer should exercise their duty to warn to these workers – but what happens if one of their family members is diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease due to secondary exposure?

The duty to warn has never been extended to family members in California, until recently. In this case, a worker’s nephew was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos from his uncle’s work clothing. The defendant, Pneumo Abex, argued that “no duty is owed [by an employer] to family members of workers for take-home exposure.”

Despite arguments from the defendant, the First Appellate District Court of Appeals found Abex guilty of failing to warn Johnny Kesner, Jr. about the hazards of asbestos exposure. The court used the Rowland decision to determine if Abex was guilty. Because Kesner spent so much time with his uncle, the court ruled that the duty to warn should have been extended to Kesner.

This is an outstanding verdict for secondary exposure victims, but the same outcome is not guaranteed for all. Selecting an asbestos attorney experienced in handling mesothelioma cases is one sure way to receive the maximum compensation for your injuries or illness due to asbestos exposure. Don’t hesitate to contact Brayton Purcell LLP if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease.