Another Victory for Sound Science


The Maryland Court of Special Appeal has decided for defendant Ford Motor Company in Dixon v. Ford Motor Company. The appellate court held that the trial court committed reversible error in allowing the jury to consider the testimony of plaintiffs expert, Dr. Laura Welch, who testified that each and every exposure to a defendants asbestos-containing product was significant or substantial, sometimes referred to as the single fiber theory. The appellate court reversed the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case.

The court agreed with our argument that this theory is not based on sound scientific methodology because there was no measurement, or even a good estimate, of the dose of asbestos received by the plaintiff, and it also ignores the different disease-causing potential of the specific type of asbestos used by each defendant in its products; this is particularly important in this case because, as in many other cases, Fords products were automotive friction products (brakes and clutches) which used a particular type of asbestos that scientific research and U.S. Government agencies, such as the EPA (not known to be friendly towards industry) have deemed to have a risk that is very low and could be zero and is unlikely to cause cancer in humans. The court thus held that a required element of plaintiffs burden of proof was not sustained.

In reaching its decision, the Court cited Atlantic Legals brief and a number of the scientific papers we brought to the Courts attention, and enumerated the scientists represented by Atlantic Legal. Of the Foundation’s brief, the President of the Product Liability Advisory Council wrote: Brilliant amicus brief that you all filed!

The facts of the case are described in detail below, in the March 28, 2012 entry

Please click here to read the Court’s opinion.