An Arizona Appeals Court ruled that parties are not liable for the harm their asbestos products cause to others in secondhand or “take-home” asbestos exposure. The case centered around a decedent whose surviving heirs claim the victim passed away due to secondhand exposure of asbestos brought home by the victim’s father. The mesothelioma victim’s father worked for Arizona-based Reynolds Metals Co. in Maricopa County during the 1950’s and was frequently exposed to asbestos fibers on work clothes, inside automobiles, and general surroundings.
Attorneys for the plaintiff argued that defendant owed a duty to refrain from creating dangerous or otherwise hazardous conditions on its property, which could cause harm to others off site. Courts in other states have found that plaintiffs were harmed because their parent worked in proximity to asbestos and the defendants owed them a duty not to place them at risk.
The plaintiff argued citing other state courts that property owners owe “a general duty to refrain from engaging in affirmative acts that a reasonable person should recognize as involving an unreasonable risk of causing an invasion of an interest of another, or acts which involve an unreasonable risk of harm to another.”
Unfortunately for the mesothelioma victim, the Arizona Court of Appeals interpreted the Arizona’s premises liability laws in such a way that it released the company from liability of injury caused by secondhand exposure to asbestos. The Court declined to follow other jurisdictions that have held landowners responsible for secondhand asbestos exposure. In doing so, the court wrote “A landowner owes invitees a duty to provide reasonably safe premises and reasonably safe means of ingress and egress” but that duty ends when persons are not on the property.
The Court further declined to hold the company responsible for secondhand asbestos exposure based on public policy. The Court went on to express concerns over the type of precedent a ruling in the plaintiff’s favor would create future litigation. Although this ruling is a setback for the plaintiff, the case, nevertheless, should not deter secondhand exposure or “take-home” asbestos exposure mesothelioma victims from pursuing a case.
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Arizona Court Finds Company not Responsible for Mesothelioma Caused by Secondhand Asbestos Exposure