The Facts

  • Asbestos inhalation has been linked to mesothelioma, a form of malignant cancer that develops, over time, in the tissue surrounding the lungs.
  • The amount of asbestos exposure determines whether the defendant’s product caused the disease.
  • In 1973, the standard for causation in asbestos-related cases was lowered.
  • By the 1990s, plaintiff ‘s attorneys were beginning to re-tool the asbestos litigation practice in response to growing efforts by Congress to stem the tide of costly judgments.
  • Asbestos litigation has remained a profitable venture for many plaintiff ‘s attorneys, costing the United States more than $800 billion annually, or greater than 2% of our GDP.
  • From 1988 to 2000, Texas was home to more asbestos-related claims than any other state.
  • In Borg-Warner Corp. v. Flores, the Texas Supreme Court established the evidentiary standard plaintiffs must meet in asbestos-related claims. Plaintiffs must show that the defendant’s asbestos-related product was a “substantial factor” in their illness, and that mere exposure to asbestos should not be enough to establish a valid claim for awards.
  • The Borg-Warner test does not require mathematical precision. A plaintiff merely needs to show defendant-specific evidence relating to the approximate dose to which the plaintiff was exposed, and evidence that the dose was a substantial factor in causing the asbestos-related disease.
  • Asbestos and related fibers are among the most studied toxins worldwide. Scientists have reported extensively on the dosage necessary to cause asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma.
  • Legislation was introduced in the 81st Legislature lowering the causation threshold in asbestos-related litigation so that more defendants could be held civilly liable for enormous sums without plaintiffs firmly linking their illness to the defendant’s product.
  • Implications of including defendants who do not belong in litigation reach farther than the immediate parties involved-when businesses are financially burdened by multi-million dollar verdicts, employees are affected in the form of job losses, and consumers are affected by higher prices.



  • The current causation standards for asbestos-related claims should remain at the same level as all other toxic exposure claims.
  • A measurable standard for how plaintiffs prove negligence is key to preventing needless strain on our economy.