Behrens Quoted on Low Causation Standard for Asbestos Cases

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Washington D.C. Partner Mark Behrens discusses the use of maritime law in asbestos cases in a November 5 Legal Newsline article, titled, “Causation standard in Newport News asbestos cases draws attention to court.”

Earlier this month the American Tort Reform Association named the court system in Newport News, Va., a full-fledged “Judicial Hellhole.” In the city, asbestos cases are tried under maritime law, not Virginia state law, a determination specific to Newport News made by the U.S. Supreme Court, because alleged injuries are U.S. Navy- or shipyard-related. 

Behrens commented, saying, “Newport News plaintiffs enjoy the highest win rate at trial in the nation because of a confluence of laws that favor plaintiffs and one-sided rulings by Newport News judges.” 

Later in the article Behrens says, “In other maritime law jurisdictions the exposure has to be meaningful. In Newport News, the judges instruct the jury that ‘substantial’ is simply an exposure that is not imaginary.”