CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Hensley
- Case Date: 3/16/2009
- Project Name: Civil Justice Reform
On June 1, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily overturned a Tennessee court decision that upheld a $5,000,000 judgment for a retired railroad worker who fears that his past exposure to asbestos may cause him to develop cancer in the future. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief urging reversal. The Court agreed with WLF that emotional distress damages based on a fear of developing cancer should only be available in cases in which the alleged fear is demonstrated to be "genuine and serious." The Court noted that no such limitation was imposed in this case; instead, the jury was granted unlimited discretion to award the plaintiff any damages it deemed appropriate for emotional distress. WLF had argued that, as more and more major corporations are being driven into bankruptcy by asbestos litigation liabilities, it is unwarranted to be awarding millions of dollars in damages to those who claim to fear developing cancer yet are unlikely ever to do so.
More Information and Downloads:
3/16/2009: Download the Brief
Litigation Update: Court Limits Damage Suits Based on Fear of Developing Cancer