Texas Senate considers asbestos reform rollback

by Ted Frank on April 2, 2009

In 2007, the Texas Supreme Court unanimously decided Borg-Warner v. Flores, holding that a defendant in an asbestos case was not liable unless its product was a “substantial factor” in causing injury.

But there are now bills in the Texas House and Senate, SB 1123 (recently reported out of Senate committee) and HB 1811, that seek to undo this by defining “substantial factor” to merely mean that a product “contributed to the [plaintiff’s] cumulative exposure”—whether or not other defendants’ products were far more responsible for a plaintiff’s injury. The effect of this rollback would be to return Texas to the role of asbestos magnet, since it could conceivably create indiscriminate liability for hundreds of innocent businesses in any given case. The effect will be very similar to the infamous Lipke rule in Madison County, Illinois that extracted billions of dollars from the innocent this decade.

Texans for Lawsuit Reform has a fact-sheet, as does the Texas Civil Justice League.

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PointOfLaw Forum
04.02.09 at 8:58 pm

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1 MAS1916 04.02.09 at 4:59 pm

Careful! Texas is currently one of the most business-friendly states in the union. If the recession keeps up, they may pick up a bunch of new business from states with high income taxes. Don’t foul this up, Texas!

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