Rondon v. Hennessy Indus., Inc.Annotate this Case
Hennessy manufactured and supplied brake arcing machines used to grind asbestos brakes. Rondon used Hennessy’s machines while working as a mechanic, 1965-1988. Rondon developed mesothelioma as the result of exposure to asbestos while working as a mechanic and brought claims for strict liability and negligence against Hennessy, alleging that its brake arcing machines released asbestos dust that caused him injury when he used them to grind standard brake linings. Hennessy’s grinders themselves did not contain asbestos. Hennessy alleged that the machines were not designed to be used exclusively with asbestos-containing products and were used on non-asbestos brakes. The trial court dismissed. The court of appeal reversed, citing the 2015 decision from the Second District Court of Appeal in Sherman v. Hennessy, holding that the proper test is not the “exclusive use” standard argued by Hennessy and relied on by the trial court, but whether the “inevitable use” of Hennessy’s machines would expose a worker like Rondon to asbestos dust absent safety protection or adequate warning. Rondon produced sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the “inevitable use” standard was met.