“EVERY EXPOSURE” TO ASBESTOS – NO MATTER HOW LITTLE – EQUALS AN ISSUE OF FACT FOR TRIAL AND WILL RESULT IN DENIAL OF A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON CAUSATION IN AN ASBESTOS CASE IN LOUISIANA STATE COURTS
Many defendants in asbestos-exposure cases have very little involvement in causing plaintiff’s asbestos-related illness. At the close of fact discovery, they often rely on a “no evidence” motion for summary judgment in Louisiana state courts to force plaintiff to show he had a harmful exposure to asbestos for which the defendant moving for summary judgment is allegedly liable to the extent it was a substantial factor in bringing about his injury. Rando v. Anco Insulations, Inc., 2008-1163, p. 35-36 (La. 5/22/09), 16 So.3d 1065, 1091; Oddo v. Asbestos Corp., 2014-0004 (La. App. 4 Cir. 8/20/15), 173 So.3d 1192.
Recent Louisiana appellate decisions arguably send a message that “every exposure” to asbestos will defeat a no-evidence motion for summary judgment in an asbestos exposure case. This trend will force more defendants to pay cost-of-defense (or higher) settlements. See: Alberes v. Anco Insulations, Inc., 2013-1549 (La. App. 4 Cir. 12/10/14), 156 So.3d 795 (5 day exposure in a fifty-year exposure period is an issue for trial); Francis v. Union Carbide Corp., 2012-1397 (La. App. 4 Cir. 5/8/13), 116 So.3d 858 (the conduct of asbestos insulation work while the deceased was at the refinery creates a dispute issue of material fact for trial); but see, Landry v. Avondale Industries, Inc., 2012-0950 (La. App. 4 Cir. 3/6/13), 111 So.3d 508 (partial summary judgment on liability in favor of plaintiff reversed because of disputed fact about the quantity of asbestos to which plaintiff was exposed by defendant).