November 03, 2011 Articles

Choice of Law Governing Asbestos Claims

By David T. Biderman and Judith B. Gitterman

Choice of law questions in asbestos litigation can be highly complex. The court determining choice of law must often take into account a wide variety of factors, including the citizenship of a large number of defendants from a variety of jurisdictions; multiple claims of exposure dating back decades in time; and claims of exposure in numerous states or countries as well as on military bases and naval vessels. Moreover, where more than one jurisdiction is involved, one state’s law will not necessarily apply to every issue in the case; the decision as to which state’s law should apply may be made on an issue-by-issue basis. In asbestos cases, the outcome can turn on which state’s law is found applicable to issues such as the statue of limitations, causation, or criteria for admissibility of scientific evidence.

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