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Kesner v. Superior Court

California Supreme Court
384 P.3d 283 (2016)


Facts

Johnny Kesner’s (plaintiff’s) uncle, George Kesner, worked for Pneumo Abex, LLC (defendant). George was exposed to asbestos at work and would sometimes come home and roughhouse with Johnny while wearing his work clothes. Johnny was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and he brought an action against Abex and other defendants alleging that he contracted mesothelioma because of his secondary exposure to the asbestos on his uncle’s clothing. Lynne Haver’s husband, Mike Haver, worked for BNSF Railway Company (defendant). Mike was exposed to asbestos at work, and Lynne laundered Mike’s work clothes. Lynne died of mesothelioma. Lynne’s family (plaintiffs) brought a wrongful-death action against BNSF based on Lynne’s secondary exposure to asbestos. The lower courts in Kesner’s and the Havers’s cases reached different conclusions about whether employers and premises owners who use asbestos in their facilities have a duty to prevent nonemployees from secondary exposure to asbestos. The California Supreme Court consolidated the cases for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Liu, J.)

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