July 2014: Texas Supreme Court Expands Substantial-Factor Standard Of Causation Rule From Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores To Mesothelioma Cases

In mid-July 2014, in the case Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., the Texas Supreme Court held that the Plaintiff failed to prove that Timothy Bostic’s exposure to Georgia-Pacific’s asbestos-containing products was a substantial factor in bringing about his fatal mesothelioma.

In more detail, the Court stated:

  • In multiple-exposure cases the Plaintiff must establish the measured “dose” of asbestos fibers to which the mesothelioma victim was exposed by his working with and/or around the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product;
  • A Plaintiff cannot prove substantial-factor standard of causation without presenting expert testimony that the mesothelioma victim’s exposure to the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product more than doubled the mesothelioma victim’s risk of contracting that asbestos cancer; and,
  • In this Bostic case the Plaintiff’s expert could not conclude that the mesothelioma victim would not have developed his asbestos cancer absent exposure to the Defendant’s asbestos-containing product.

Put otherwise, the Texas Supreme Court expressly rejected the Plaintiff’s “each and every exposure” theory, under which each exposure to asbestos fibers causes or potentially causes the mesothelioma asbestos cancer.

Rather, essentially, this is now the law in Texas for all asbestos cases involving multiple sources of exposure, including mesothelioma cases:

The Plaintiff must present Defendant-specific evidence of the approximate measured dose to which the mesothelioma victim was exposed, and present evidence that the asbestos dose was a substantial factor in causing the asbestos cancer.

 Mesothelioma, Asbestos, and Legal Compensation: Basic Facts

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