A deceased man’s case against Ford Motor Co. and Cummins Inc., alleging he developed mesothelioma after being exposed to the companies’ asbestos-containing products will proceed despite an attempt by both companies to dismiss the case, according to Law360.
U.S. District Judge Sara S. Vance allowed the case of Victor Michel to move forward after hearing arguments by the companies that she should dismiss it. Michel filed the lawsuit prior to his death in June 2018. His family is now representing the case.
Ford and Cummins had sought to exclude all of the experts Michel’s family’s intended to use, which was the basis for their request for summary judgment. Michel’s experts testified that Michel’s exposure to asbestos in the companies’ products while working as a mechanic caused him to develop peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the abdomen.
Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in friction products and building materials until the 1980s. Since then, the use of asbestos was significantly restricted due to its health risks. Michel’s lawsuit claimed that throughout his career he worked on engines and brakes made by Ford and Cummins that contained the cancer-causing fiber.
But Judge Vance found factual basis for Michel’s experts’ opinions in Michel’s own testimony, his employment, and his medical history. As a result, she deemed it reasonable to allow his experts’ testimony that Michel’s exposure to the asbestos-containing products caused his disease.
Cummins, apart from Ford, had argued that Michel hadn’t proved that Cummins’ products contributed to his disease. But Judge Vance disagreed, as Michel had testified that he often worked with Cummins’ materials during his career. Additionally, a representative from the corporation had also testified that some of the company’s products contained asbestos.