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Tennessee Supreme Court Hears Second Hand Exposure Case

The Tennessee Supreme Court is now deliberating whether a company can be held liable for second hand asbestos exposure.

A 23-year-old woman filed the original lawsuit against Alcoa Inc. in 2003 after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The woman argued that she developed mesothelioma from asbestos fibers on her father's work clothing. She died in 2005 and her father, who hauled asbestos for the company, continued the lawsuit on behalf of her estate.

The victim's lawyers argue that her father inadvertently exposed her to the toxic material and that Alcoa failed to provide safeguards against workers taking the fibers home from their clothing. Attorneys for Alcoa argue that the company does not bear responsibility for an illness contracted by a non-employee and that a ruling for the defendants would create an excessive amount of lawsuits from people, sick or not, who might have been exposed.

Judges heard their arguments and questioned each side before ending the hearing. A ruling is expected within three months.