Starting in 2001, we began developing evidence for a defense that had long been around in the asbestos litigation, but was not then actively asserted in most Texas cases. New research that had largely gone unnoticed supported the proposition that chrysotile, a type of asbestos used in many products, was not a cause of the worst of the asbestos diseases, mesothelioma. Moreover, Texas law had stiffened the requirements for proving causation in toxic tort cases. We believed these two developments made the chrysotile defense especially viable in Texas.
We began asserting the chrysotile defense in all our mesothelioma cases. Working with leading experts in the field, we marshaled the scientific evidence that supported the defense and created presentations that would make the defense comprehensible to judges and jurors. We pressed plaintiffs’ experts on the defense and secured admissions from several long-time plaintiffs’ experts that chrysotile was not a proven cause of mesothelioma.
Our motions resulted in the first Texas trial court orders excluding evidence that chrysotile causes mesothelioma, which then led to summary judgment. Even when trial judges denied our motions, we have successfully argued the defense to juries.