Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 14,900+ case briefs...

General Electric Co. v. Joiner

United States Supreme Court
522 U.S. 136 (1997)


Facts

Robert Joiner (plaintiff) worked as an electrician for the Water and Light Department in Thomasville, Georgia. As part of his job, he came into frequent contact with a mineral-based dielectric fluid, used as a coolant. After several years, it was discovered this fluid contained significant amounts of hazardous chemicals. These chemicals were banned in the United States in 1978. Joiner continued working as an electrician, but in 1991, he was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. Joiner sued General Electric Co (GE) (defendant) and Westinghouse Electric (WE) (defendant), both manufacturers of the dielectric fluid. In his complaint, Joiner linked his cancer to exposure to the fluid. However, Joined had also been a smoker for eight years, and both his parents were smokers. There was also a history of lung cancer in his family. Although admitting he may have already been at a heightened risk for lung cancer, Joiner alleged his exposure to the fluid “promoted” his cancer. He stated that but for his exposure to the fluid his cancer likely would not have developed for many years, if at all. At trial, GE and WE presented expert testimony stating that there was no evidence Joiner was actually exposed to the hazardous chemicals, and there was no evidence of a link between exposure to the chemicals and small cell lung cancer. The district court admitted this testimony but excluded the counter testimony of Joiner’s experts on the ground that it did not rise above “subjective belief or unsupported speculation.” The court of appeals reversed after applying a “particularly stringent standard of review.” The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari on the issue of the standard of review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)

Concurrence (Breyer, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Stevens, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 284,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,900 briefs, keyed to 201 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.