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Kazan Law Wins Precedent-Setting California Supreme Court Victory in Ford Asbestos Case

ford asbestosAs reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Supreme Court has rejected Ford Motor Company’s petition for review of a published appellate decision in favor of Kazan Law clients Patrick and Sharon Scott (Scott v. Ford Motor Company (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1492).  Mr. Scott’s mesothelioma cancer was caused by prolonged asbestos exposure from automotive brakes.

Ford desired a “nationwide shield” from punitive damages liability for all asbestos exposure, merely because Ford’s executive offices are in Michigan and that state’s law does not allow punitive damages.  But the correct rule is that when a company exposes people to the risks associated with asbestos — or any other toxic substance or dangerous product — in California, a California jury has the right to apply punitive damages law to the case.

According to the media article about this new favorable development in the Scott case, it is “also a precedent for future cases.”

This will not be the first time that Kazan Law has set legal precedents in the area of asbestos law. But what matters to us most here is the justice that we are helping to achieve not only for the Scotts but for every one of us.

Otherwise big companies with out-of-state headquarters would get a free pass to sell defective products in California and every other state without fear of punishment. That would be a nightmare not just for mesothelioma victims but for everyone injured by driving a car with defective parts, using appliances that malfunctioned or products containing harmful substances, when the manufacturer ignored the health and safety of its customers

A jury awarded Patrick Scott $1.5 million in damages and legal costs against Ford in November 2012 after the trial team, led by Kazan Law’s asbestos attorneys Justin Bosl and Joseph Satterley, presented clear evidence that Ford had known of the asbestos exposure risks in their products before Mr. Scott did, and failed to warn him. The former Bay Area service station owner had sought damages from Ford for exposing him to brake-lining asbestos.

In March, a California appellate court upheld the $1.5 million judgment for the Scotts. Kazan Law of counsel Ted Pelletier led our appellate team in that phase.

Kazan Law associate Michael Stewart, who headed this current round of the Scott asbestos case, aptly summed up the California Supreme Court victory by saying, “The Scott decision will help to protect all types of consumers in California because the availability of punitive damages will encourage all manufacturers to design safer products and share hazard information.  It should not matter whether a manufacturer is from California or some other state or country.”

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