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Louisiana Federal Court Excludes “Every Exposure” Testimony

Adding to the growing body of case law that rejects the so-called “every exposure” theory, a federal court in Louisiana has excluded specific causation opinions of a plaintiffs’ expert who relied on the theory, finding that such a “one-size fits all” approach is not reliable expert testimony. See Comardelle v. Pennsylvania Gen. Ins. Co., No. 13-6555 (E.D. La. January 5, 2015).

Plaintiffs, survivors of the decedent, alleged the decedent contracted mesothelioma and lung cancer from exposure to asbestos and asbestos-containing products in the workplace, including an adhesive made and sold by Amchem, Inc. Plaintiffs sought to call an expert who would testify that the Amchem adhesive was a substantial contributing factor to the development of decedent’s mesothelioma, in that every exposure to asbestos would have contributed to the illness. Amchem moved to exclude such specific-causation opinion testimony, as well as any other expert testimony that relies on an “every exposure” theory, arguing such testimony does not pass muster under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (U.S. 1993).

The court agreed that Plaintiffs’ expert sought to offer a theory based on “every exposure” to asbestos, and was not tied to the specific facts and circumstances of any of decedent’s exposures. Plaintiffs’ expert opined in his expert report that all inhaled asbestos fibers had the potential to lead to mesothelioma and lung cancer. Citing several recent district court opinions that rejected a causation opinion based on the “every exposure” theory, the court found that the expert’s testimony was not reliable and was inadmissible for the purposes of establishing specific causation.

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About this Author

Mackenzie Schoonmaker, Environmental Lawyer, Beveridge & Diamond Law Firm

Mackenzie Schoonmaker focuses her practice on litigation and environmental regulatory matters.  Ms. Schoonmaker’s litigation practice includes representing clients in state and federal courts, as well as in data compensation arbitrations under the federal pesticide statute, FIFRA.  Most recently, Ms. Schoonmaker was part of the Firm’s trial team that secured a defense judgment in the District of Columbia Superior Court after a three week trial on tort claims alleging the client supplied corrosive water to apartment buildings.