Foundation Asks Maryland Court of Appeals to Reject ‘Single Fiber’ Theory


The Foundation filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of a dozen prominent scientists,
including two Nobel Prize winners and several world-renowned experts on asbestos-related
disease, in the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court of that state, in Dixon v. Ford
Motor Company
, urging the court to affirm a ruling by the Court of Special Appeals rejecting
the testimony of plaintiffs’ expert that even a single inhalation of asbestos fiber is a substantial
cause of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer.

The case arises from claims that Joan Dixon developed pleural mesothelioma as a result of her
exposure to asbestos from different products during the early 1960s and the 1970s. She claims
to have been directly exposed to asbestos while performing drywall work and clean up after
renovation projects at her home and other construction projects. Mrs. Dixon also claims to have
been exposed to asbestos containing dust brought home in work clothes worn by her husband
while he worked as a construction worker and auto repair mechanic. Mr. Dixon testified that
95% of the cars he worked on were Ford cars and that all of the replacement brakes were
purchased from a Ford dealer.

Our amicus brief addressed the junk science that the trial court allowed into evidence from
plaintiff’s causation expert that every exposure is a substantial contributing factor. This is
the same issue which we successfully briefed in appellate courts in California, Illinois and
Pennsylvania.

Maryland jurisprudence employs the regularity, frequency, and proximity test or substantial
factor causation in asbestos cases. We argued that there is no scientific basis for the every
exposure theory, that there are numerous epidemiological studies contradicting that theory, and
that even notoriously cautious government agencies such as the EPA have found that the type of
asbestos used in automobile brakes has an almost zero probability of causing mesothelioma.

We had briefed this issue in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the intermediate Maryland
appellate court, and our brief had been cited with approval by that court.

We urged the Maryland Court of Appeals to affirm the judgment of the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals.

The appeal is scheduled to be argued in May 2013.

To view the Foundation’s brief, please click here.