Workers injured due to exposure to asbestos can return to court and seek additional damages if new and different diseases arise at a later date.
That was the unanimous decision rendered by the Texas Supreme Court last week. The court did not break new legal ground - it simply joined other states in making its ruling.
Contrary to the Dec. 1 Outlook comments by critic Dan Lambe ("High court expands asbestos damages"), this decision hardly marks a shift in the court's philosophy.
Consider that in recent months the court has protected injured workers by ruling that a corporation must punish an abusive supervisor or face punishment themselves; that a good warning does not excuse the poor product design of a tire; and, that an employer cannot opt out of the workers' compensation system and then demand that compensation for an injury be reduced because the worker was partly responsible for his or her on-the-job injury.
A year and a half ago, in another Chronicle Outlook article, Lambe lambasted the "pro-insurance" activist judges and wrongly accused them of throwing workers, consumers and the law in the ditch. Now he appears to have flip-flopped his opinion, complementing this exact same court for "ensuring an avenue for justice for Texas workers."
Apparently, it has finally dawned on him that we can place our hope and confidence in the law and our courts to protect workplace safety.
Texans want a court that is well reasoned and in the mainstream of judicial thought. As evidenced by last month's election, voters are satisfied with the direction of the Supreme Court and reject critics such as Lambe, who claim the court is anything but balanced.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse