When Gerald Hickman was diagnosed with b, he did not have to look far to determine the source of his exposure to the carcinogenic material. He had been exposed to asbestos-contaminated brake parts for his entire life, starting when he was a child and his dad owned a service station and running through all his own years working as a mechanic in repair shops, and even on his first wife’s 1970 Ford Mustang. When he realized that the company had knowingly exposed him and others to the dangerous material, he filed a negligence lawsuit against them. Though Ford tried to have the case dismissed, the United States District Court of Delaware denied their motion for summary judgment, indicating that there was more than enough evidence that his illness stemmed from their products.
Mr. Hickman told of multiple exposures to Ford Motor Company brakes and the asbestos they contained throughout his life, but it was his exposure to the asbestos in his first wife’s car that the judges viewed most compelling in terms of evidence that Ford’s products were responsible for his asbestosis. Though he spoke about the second-hand exposure from his father’s work clothes, which were frequently covered with asbestos dust, as well as his own exposure to asbestos dust while working in gas stations and auto repair shops throughout his life, the judge said that because he had no evidence or records of the specific vehicles that had been worked on in those shops they did not provide proof of Ford Motor Company’s involvement in his exposure. By contrast, he could provide strong support showing his first wife’s ownership of the Ford Mustang, and Ford conceded that the brakes on that model vehicle contained asbestos-contaminated parts. Those two bits of evidence were all that was needed for the judges to allow the case to proceed.
Understanding the strength of a seemingly small piece of evidence can make all the difference in a mesothelioma or asbestosis case. If you are in need of legal advice or information involving asbestos exposure, contact us today. We can be reached at 1-800-966-2244.