James Jackson (plaintiff) contracted asbestosis after being exposed to asbestos in his work at a shipyard. Jackson brought a federal suit against several manufacturers of asbestos products, including Johns-Manville Sales Corporation (defendant), under diversity jurisdiction. Jackson did not have cancer at the time of the lawsuit, but his counsel introduced evidence showing the substantial likelihood of a lung cancer diagnosis following exposure to asbestos. The defendants argued, unsuccessfully, that recovery for cancer was not possible until the cancer itself appeared. The district court awarded Jackson punitive and compensatory damages. Johns-Manville appealed. The United States Court of Appeals granted certiorari.