Tenn. court rules that second-hand asbestos case can go forward

Chris Rizo Sep. 10, 2008, 3:00pm

Tennessee Supreme Court justices

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline)-A company can be sued for the asbestos-related death of a former worker's daughter, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled.

In an appeal to the state's highest court, Alcoa Inc. argued that it should not be held responsible for the mesothelioma that killed Amanda Satterfield in 2005.

Shatterfield sued Pittsburgh-based Alcoa in 2003, claiming that the asbestos dust her father brought home on his work clothes led to her cancer.

Her father, Doug Satterfield, has picked up the lawsuit as the representative of his daughter's estate. The estate is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

In its ruling, the state high court ruled that the company had a responsibility to prevent people from being exposed to asbestos fibers from their workers' contaminated clothing.

The justices remanded the case back to trial in Blount County, where the case was dismissed. The Supreme Court ruled the state appeals court erred and reinstated the lawsuit.

"In light of the magnitude of the potential harm from exposure to asbestos and the means available to prevent or reduce this harm, we see no reason to prevent carpool members, baby sitters, or the domestic help from pursuing negligence claims against an employer should they develop mesothelioma after being repeatedly and regularly in close contact with an employee's asbestos-contaminated work clothes over an extended period of time," Justice William Koch wrote for the court's majority.

The case is Doug Satterfield, as personal representative of the Estate of Amanda Nicole Satterfield, Deceased, vs. Breeding Insulation Company, Inc. and Alcoa, Inc., f/k.a Aluninum Company of America - E2006-00903-SC-R11-CV.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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