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Anderon v. Owens Coring Fiberglas Corp. Case Brief

Summary of Anderon v. Owens Coring Fiberglas Corp., 53 Cal.3d 987 (1991).

Facts:  ? claims that contracted asbestosis when working with D’s products than contained asbestos.  D raised the state-of-the-art defense to argue that no one knew of the danger at the time.

Issue: Is state of the art evidence relevant?

Holding: Yes

Rationale:  Majority of the jurisdictions allow it.  Also, absolute liability doesn’t make sense because how can you warn when you don’t even know about it.  It would make manufacturers warn about everything and that would make warnings useless.  Knowledge actual or constructive is a prerequisite to strict liability.  Difference between negligence and strict liability:  Negligence law in a failure-to-warn case requires a plaintiff to prove that the manufacturer or distributor did not warn of  a particular risk for reasons which fell below the acceptable standard of care.  The rules of strict liability require a plaintiff to prove only that the defendant did not adequately warn of a particular risk that was known or knowable in light of the generally recognized and prevailing best scientific and medical knowledge available at the time of manufacture and distribution.  As opposed to negligence, in strict liability the reasonableness of ?’s failure to warn is immaterial.




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