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Court Rules Manufacturer Responsible For Asbestos Warning

Ruby de Luna

The state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a manufacturer has a duty to warn about exposure to dangerous materials when using their products.


The case involves Leo Macias; he worked at a Seattle shipyard. Part of his job was to clean and maintain tools that workers used. One of those tools is a respirator that filters out asbestos.

Macias developed cancer from exposure to asbestos. He and his wife sued the company that manufactured the respirator.

They said the company should have issued a warning to take precaution in handling the equipment. But the manufacturer argued that they have no duty to warn people who use their respirators, because they did not produce the contaminants that caused the asbestos exposure.

In a 5 to 4 ruling, the state Supreme Court disagreed with the company. The justices pointed out the respirator was intended to filter harmful materials in the air, so the company had a duty to warn people of the inherent dangers of asbestos exposure. The case has been sent back to Pierce County Superior Court for trial.

Leo Macias died in June 2010, while the case was pending.

I'm Ruby de Luna, kUOW News.

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