PLF urges reasonable limits on tort duties

February 28, 2013 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Asbestos has amazing fire-retardent and insulating properties and was used in thousands of products for decades.  As everyone now knows, asbestos also releases microscopic fibers into the air that, when inhaled, can cause serious diseases.  For more than 40 years, people suffering from asbestos-caused illnesses have sued.  Then people who weren& ...


Adults must take responsibility for their voluntary choices

April 03, 2014 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

As a freshman at Texas A&M University, 18-year-old Elizabeth Helbing and others were invited by two upperclassmen, Oliver Hunt and John Deaver, on a traditional Aggie outing to lay beneath a railroad bridge at night, and feel the “rush” of the train speeding overhead.  Wearing flip-flops and making her way by the light of cellphone ...


President's Report – April 4, 2014

April 04, 2014 | By ROB RIVETT

Property Rights – California Coastal Commission We reported last week that the California Court of Appeal issued an adverse decision in SDS Family Trust v. CCC, based on its misunderstanding of the facts related to when the family challenged the mile-long easement imposed on its property.  This week, PLF filed a petition for rehearing that ...


N.M. court abdicates responsibility to define tort duties

May 08, 2014 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Today, the New Mexico Supreme Court decided in Rodriguez v. Del Sol Shopping Center that when a court decides whether a property owner has a duty to protect people from harm on the premises, the court must never consider whether the harm was foreseeable. PLF has long argued in premises liability cases that foreseeability cannot … ...


Will the California Supreme Court expand asbestos take-home liability?

March 10, 2015 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Johnny Kesner was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011.  Because this is an asbestos-related illness, he cast a wide net and sued 19 companies, most of whom were Kesner’s former employers where Kesner was exposed to asbestos on the premises, but also including Pneumo Abex Co., which employed his uncle.  Kesner claims that his uncle left  ...


How far does “premises liability” extend off the premises?

March 18, 2015 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Lynne Haver claimed that she contracted mesothelioma as a result of coming into contact with her husband Mike’s clothing (when she did the laundry), tools, vehicles and general surroundings in the 1970’s while Mike was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad (now BNSF Railway). Subsequently, her heirs sued BNSF claiming that, because it owned ...


Workers’ comp, bulk suppliers, and expanded tort liability

March 19, 2015 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

Flavio Ramos worked as a mold maker, machine operator, and laborer for Supreme Casting & Pattern, Inc., which manufactured metal parts through “a foundry and fabrication process,” from 1972 to 2009. During this time, the industrial processing of raw materials created fumes from molten metal and dust from the plaster, sand, limestone ...


Fighting at a hockey game? No way!

June 22, 2015 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

At a youth hockey game in Rome, New York, families of the 13-year-old players rooted for their teams with increasing intensity. Some spectators turned belligerent, and after the game ended, one player’s mother confronted another player’s mother. The provocation blew up into a full-scale melee involving multiple family members and specta ...


Extending tort liability on the basis of indirect economic benefit

September 03, 2015 | By DEBORAH LA FETRA

In Sherman v. Hennessy Industries, the California Court of Appeal held that the manufacturer of an “arcing machine”—essentially a highly calibrated saw used to customize brake linings—is liable for injuries caused by asbestos dust released by certain brake linings even though the machine itself contains no asbestos. The decision cre ...