The untimely death of loved one can be especially tragic if it was likely preventable. In a November 2, 2018 case, the surviving daughters and estate of the decedent filed a Maryland wrongful death action against an asbestos product manufacturer after their mother passed away from malignant mesothelioma. The manufacturer supplied asbestos products to the company that employed the decedent’s husband, who used them for over thirty years in the course of his job. The asbestos products created dust that covered his clothes at the end of the work day.
In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that their mother’s malignant mesothelioma was caused by her exposure to asbestos fibers from the defendant’s products when she shook out and washed her husband’s clothing every day. For the defendant to be held liable for its negligence, the defendant must have had a responsibility, or duty, to the victim to act accordingly. The plaintiffs in the case claimed that the defendant was negligent in failing to warn the decedent of the harm caused by asbestos exposure.
After the plaintiffs presented their proof at trial, the defendant moved for judgment. The defendant argued that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that it owed a legal duty to warn household members of the dangers of asbestos exposure. The trial court agreed and entered judgment in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiffs appealed.