Norfolk & Western Railway Co. v. Ayers
- Case Date: 6/17/2002
- Project Name: Civil Justice Reform
On March 10, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to bar "fear of cancer" emotional distress damage awards to those who have been exposed to asbestos, even in the absence of evidence that they have developed cancer. The 5-4 decision was a setback for WLF, which filed a brief in the case with the assistance of former Attorney General Griffin Bell. Disagreeing with WLF, the Court held that so long as a plaintiff has suffered some physical impairment due to his asbestos exposure (in this case, a mild bronchial condition called asbestosis), he is entitled to recover whatever emotional injuries are claimed to have been due to the exposure. In a dissent on behalf of four members of the Court, Justice Kennedy said that the practical effect of the ruling will be to deplete funds that would otherwise be available to compensate the truly injured.
More Information and Downloads:
6/17/2002: Download the Brief
Litigation Update: Court Declines To Bar Asbestos Suits By Those Who Are Not Sick
Press Release: Court Urged To Bar Asbestos Suits By Those Who Are Not Sick