Kinsman v. Unocal Asbestos case: Latent Hazards
Read the discussion in the Kinsman v. Unocal asbestos case, where the plaintiff/respondent discusses latent hazard theories.
In fact, Kinsman claims that this is a latent hazard case, and disavows any reliance on the “superior knowledge” theory. He argues that there was no evidence that Kinsman’s employer, Burke & Reynolds, had any knowledge, in the 1950’s when Kinsman’s injuries were incurred, that asbestos dust was hazardous, and that there was considerable evidence that Unocal knew of the hazards.
Kinsman further points out that the present case differs significantly from Grahn, in which a premises liability theory based on asbestos exposure was rejected, in that the exposure in Grahn occurred in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, after asbestos had become widely recognized as a carcinogen.
Therefore the Grahn court was justified in stating that the hirer was “entitled to assume” that the contractor would take proper safety precautions, an assumption that did not apply in the 1950’s when the injury in question occurred.
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