Smoking gun on asbestos [mesothelioma] dangers from brakes: Ford training manuals

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 7, 2007 — On March 5, 2007, New York County Supreme Court Justice Karen S. Smith ruled that training manuals from Ford Co., and other companies, can be submitted at trial as admissions of Ford that its asbestos-containing brakes are hazardous and can cause cancer. This ruling was handed down in case #05/115887 CARLOS CEPEDA v. AC&S, INC., et al., filed at the Supreme Court in New York County, a case involving complex asbestos litigation filed in New York City.

The Ford training manuals’ references to the asbestos hazards contradict Ford’s litigation position that asbestos-containing brakes are safe. Before the ruling was issued, Ford argued the its training manuals should not be admitted into evidence at trial because the warnings, with regard to the dangers of asbestoses containing brakes and asbestos-containing brake parts, were involuntarily included solely to meet the requirements of the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”). Justice Smith rejected this argument in light of the fact that Ford disseminated its training materials to the public at large, whereas the OSHA requirements were only applicable to the employer-employee setting. Furthermore, Justice Smith observed that the warnings contained in Ford’s training manuals, in many respects, exceeded the relevant OSHA requirements. Justice Smith also noted that no where in Ford’s training materials does it state that its warning about asbestos-containing brake parts have been given solely for the purposes of complying with government regulations.

The training materials, at issue, are part of Ford’s nationwide training program for independent Ford dealership employees, vocational instructors, and automotive students. Ford offers its training materials to these groups as well as the public at large through the sale of publications, videos, and web-based training. In these materials, whenever Ford addresses asbestos in brakes, it warns of the asbestos hazards to health and often warns that asbestos from brakes can cause diseases including cancer.

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