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Anderson v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp.

Supreme Court of California
810 P.2d 549 (1991)

Anderson v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp.


Carl Anderson (plaintiff) was exposed to asbestos by working with products manufactured by Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. (Owens-Corning) (defendant). Anderson brought suit on a theory of strict products liability claiming, among other things, that Owens-Corning failed to properly warn of the dangers inherent in exposure to the products. Owens-Corning's pleadings raised a state-of-the-art defense, asserting that even the foremost scientists working at the time the products were sold could not have known the dangers of asbestos to users of Owens-Corning's products. Before trial, Anderson moved to preclude Owens-Corning from presenting state-of-the-art evidence, and the trial court granted the motion. Owens-Corning argued that if it was precluded from presenting the evidence, then Anderson should be precluded from proceeding on a failure-to-warn theory (on the grounds that the state of the art was the only defense to that theory). The trial court granted the motion. The jury returned a verdict for Owens-Corning, but the trial court granted a new trial after Anderson asserted that the court erroneously prevented him from presenting the failure-to-warn theory. The appellate court upheld the order granting a new trial. The appellate court noted that state-of-the-art evidence is not admissible in asbestos strict products-liability cases, including cases based on a failure-to-warn theory. The Supreme Court of California granted review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Panelli, J.)

Concurrence (Broussard, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Mosk, J.)

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Questions & Answers

How did supreme court decision affirm the appellate court judgement?

Appellate court judgement said state of the art evidence is not admissible. But supreme court decision said defendant may present state of the art evidence. Then, supreme court affirmed the appellate court decision? I do not understand the flow of logic.

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