Stephens v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., No. 18-35908 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In the context of asbestos claims, the substantial-factor test requires demonstrating that the injured person had substantial exposure to the relevant asbestos for a substantial period of time. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Union Pacific in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that secondary exposure to asbestos exposure caused his mesothelioma. Plaintiff alleged negligence and related claims under Idaho law, stemming from his father's work at a Union Pacific roadhouse where he was exposed to asbestos and then carried the asbestos home to expose plaintiff.
The panel held that plaintiff failed to establish that he was regularly exposed to asbestos attributable to Union Pacific, and rejected plaintiff's contentions of error regarding expert testimony. Therefore, plaintiff failed to create a genuine issue of material fact on whether his secondary exposure was a substantial factor in causing his disease, and he could not prevail on his negligence claims.