Mesothelioma and Auto Mechanics: Expert Team Approach

R. Scott King, BSME, Senior Automotive / Mechanical Engineer ::::
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer known to be caused by asbestos. A once common component in automotive brake pads and shoes, as well as clutch discs and gasket materials, asbestos has since become strongly correlated with cases of mesothelioma in auto mechanics.
In a recent case, a retired auto mechanic pursued a product liability case alleging his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to defendant’s brake components he had been servicing his entire career. Proceeding on a failure-to-warn theory, plaintiff retained a warnings expert who provided opinions that the defendant’s product lacked appropriate warnings. However, because this warnings expert had no automotive background, he was unable to render opinions as to whether the warnings he proposed could have been applied to the target components without affecting their form, fit, and function. In response, plaintiff retained an automotive engineer to evaluate the warnings and the products for which they were intended. Citing the fact that brake manufacturers typically mark their brake pads and shoes with part numbers, company logos, production “lot” numbers, and friction formulation information, the engineering review affirmed the fact that information of all kinds, including warnings, can be placed on the components without affecting their form, fit, and function. The expert “team” approach facilitated an early settlement. Continue reading “Mesothelioma and Auto Mechanics: Expert Team Approach”