In Roverano v. John Crane, Inc., 2017 PA Super 415 (Dec. 28, 2017), the Pennsylvania Superior Court confirmed that Pennsylvania’s Fair Share Act, which prescribes how liability is allocated among multiple defendants, applies to strict-liability personal injury claims arising from asbestos exposure. [Note: Duane Morris was retained as appellate counsel and briefed and argued the appeal for one of the prevailing parties.] This is an important result for defendants in asbestos and products liability litigation throughout Pennsylvania.
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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court unanimously found that plaintiffs cannot rely on the theory that “every breath” is a substantial contributing factor in causing an asbestos-related disease in an asbestos case involving friction exposures, i.e., brakes and clutches. The May 23, 2012, ruling in Diana K. Betz v. Pneumo Abex LLC (“Simikian”) overturns the en banc decision of the state Superior Court, which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found to be based on an “unduly cramped perspective.” This decision changes the face of asbestos litigation in Pennsylvania and may have farther-reaching impact. Plaintiffs can no longer lump together exposures and say all exposures contributed to disease. This brings asbestos litigation in line with the mainstream causation requirements for other substances—plaintiffs must be able to prove that each product was a substantial factor in their disease. (Note: Duane Morris represented defendant Ford in this case.)
To read the rest of this alert, please visit the Duane Morris website.