South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Exposure to Asbestos Not Sufficient Proof of Causation of Lung Disease

Texas high court held that the fact that plaintiff was exposed to asbestos fibers was not sufficient to show causation with respect to his lung problems. More substantial evidence must be presented for liability to be imposed.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Products Liability; Evidence; Asbestos

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

Flores worked as a brake mechanic for over 30 years. He handled several brands of brake pads, including ones made by Borg-Warner for about four years. Those pads contained asbestos fibers. At times, Flores would grind the pads to eliminate squeals, which would create dust he would breathe. Flores sued Borg, contending he suffered from asbestosis caused by brake pads. His expert claimed that he had interstitial lung disease, which could be caused by more than 100 sources, including smoking, but, in the opinion of the expert was caused by asbestos fibers. Borgís expert testified that most fibers where destroyed during grinding, so lung exposure would be minimal. Another expert testified that Flores had limited lung capacity but the x-rays did not show any asbestos-related disease. Flores was a long-time cigarette smoker who also suffered from high cholesterol and heart disease. The jury found Borg liable for asbestos-related injury based on negligence. It awarded Flores compensatory and punitive damages. The appeals court affirmed. Borg appealed to the Texas high court.


Reversed. A personís exposure to some asbestos fibers is not sufficient to show that a product containing asbestos was a substantial factor in causing lung disease. Evidence presented by Flores was legally insufficient to establish that Borgís brake pads were a substantial factor in causing his lung problems. While he was exposed to the fibers, there was not sufficient evidence that the exposure caused the damage alleged.


Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores, ---S.W.3d--- (2007 WL 1650574, Sup. Ct., Tex., 2007)

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