Georgia Supreme Court

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Georgia Supreme Court rejects “take-home” liability in asbestos case

November 30, 2016

The Georgia Supreme Court rejected the so-called “take-home” theory of asbestos liability, which would have created an affirmative obligation on employers to warn third parties—with whom they otherwise have no contact—about the risks posed by asbestos that an employee might “take home” with him or her. This expansive theory of liability has been roundly rejected by the overwhelming majority of state courts to consider it.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

March 14, 2016

The U.S. Chamber, joined by a number of other business groups, urged the Georgia Supreme Court to clarify that Georgia law does not recognize negligent failure-to-warn and negligent design claims against manufacturers of asbestos-containing products where the plaintiff’s alleged injury was not caused by use of, or direct contact with, the product but by exposure to asbestos dust brought home on clothing worn by the person actually working with the product.

The Georgia Supreme Court has already ruled that employers owe no duty of care to third parties who are not exposed to asbestos in the workplace, but who rather come in contact with asbestos carried home on an employee’s person and clothing. The coalition amicus brief argued that the plaintiff’s “take home” liability theory is irreconcilable with settled Georgia law, with traditional tort law principles, or with the reasoned decisions of other states have also rejected “take home” asbestos lawsuits. The brief also warned that imposing this new duty risks opening the door to a new wave of asbestos litigation in Georgia.

The Coalition for Litigation Justice, Inc., National Association of Manufacturers, American Tort Reform Association, and National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Legal Center filed the brief jointly with the U.S. Chamber.

Leonard Searcy, II, Mark A. Behrens, and Cary Silverman of Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. served as counsel for the amici.

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