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Sparks v. Owens-Illinois, Inc.

Court of Appeals of California
38 Cal. Rptr. 2d 739 (1995)


Facts

Charles Sparks and his wife (plaintiffs) filed suit for personal injuries and loss of consortium against Owens-Illinois, Inc. (Owens-Illinois) (defendant). Owens-Illinois manufactured Kaylo, a type of high-temperature insulation that contained asbestos fibers, which was a carcinogenic substance directly linked to a deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma. The Sparkses alleged that Charles’s prolonged exposure to Kaylo while decommissioning a United State Navy ship caused him to develop mesothelioma. More specifically, the Sparkses claimed that Kaylo was a defective product. At trial, several expert witnesses, testifying on behalf of the Sparkses, stated that Charles’s exposure to Kaylo was clearly sufficient to have caused his mesothelioma. At the close of the evidence, the trial court instructed the jury to apply the consumer-expectations test to determine whether Kaylo was defectively designed. The jury held Owens-Illinois 100 percent responsible for the Sparkses’ injuries and awarded damages. Owens-Illinois appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Phelan, J.)

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