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Texas Supreme Court rejects provision in law that protects one company from asbestos claims
12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, October 23, 2010
By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News
The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that a law specifically designed to protect one company from older asbestos claims was unconstitutional.
The ruling in favor of a plaintiff was a bit of a surprise from the court, which has been criticized by trial lawyers for siding more often with business defendants in these kinds of cases.
The court threw out a provision included in Texas’ tort reform legislation that was intended to protect Crown Cork & Seal Co.
The legislation adopted in 2003 was designed to rein in trial verdicts that some argued were excessive; the new law limits damage awards in many cases and has effectively shut down practice areas for injury lawyers, such as medical malpractice cases.
During debate over the legislation, specific language limiting Crown’s liability in asbestos lawsuits was added. When the law was enacted, Crown used the new statute to dismiss claims from Barbara Robinson, whose husband had died from an asbestos-related illness.
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