In Pa., ‘Any Exposure’ Does Not Equal Causation

June 14, 2012

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has dealt a unanimous[1] blow to plaintiffs’ asbestos lawyers, and potentially to plaintiffs’ lawyers in a wide range of pharmaceutical, chemical and tobacco products cases requiring scientific evidence to prove specific causation.

Upholding the trial court’s Frye ruling, the court rejected plaintiffs’ expert’s reliance on the “any exposure” theory to prove specific causation in an asbestos case.

More importantly, it made plain that it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove by accepted and not “novel” scientific evidence that the exposure to a particular defendant’s product was sufficient to be a “substantial cause” of injury. Betz v. Pneumo Abex LLC, No. 38 WAP 2010, slip op. at 43-44 (Pa. May 23, 2012).

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