Sorenson v. Raymark Industries, Inc., No. 10270-6-II

CourtCourt of Appeals of Washington
Writing for the CourtREED
Citation51 Wn.App. 954,756 P.2d 740
Parties, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 11,894 Lyle R. SORENSON and E. Maxine Sorenson, husband and wife, Respondents, v. RAYMARK INDUSTRIES, INC., Successors in Business to Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc.; Fibreboard Corporation; the Celotex Corporation, Successor in Interest to Philip Carey Manufacturing Company, Philip Carey Corporation, Briggs and Panacon; Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation; Owens-Illinois, Inc.; Keene Corporation; and Pittsburgh-Corning Corporation, Appellants.
Decision Date20 May 1988
Docket NumberNo. 10270-6-II

Page 954

51 Wn.App. 954
756 P.2d 740, Prod.Liab.Rep. (CCH) P 11,894
Lyle R. SORENSON and E. Maxine Sorenson, husband and wife, Respondents,
v.
RAYMARK INDUSTRIES, INC., Successors in Business to
Raybestos-Manhattan, Inc.; Fibreboard Corporation; the
Celotex Corporation, Successor in Interest to Philip Carey
Manufacturing Company, Philip Carey Corporation, Briggs and
Panacon; Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation;
Owens-Illinois, Inc.; Keene Corporation; and
Pittsburgh-Corning Corporation, Appellants.
No. 10270-6-II.
Court of Appeals of Washington,
Division 2.
May 20, 1988.
As Changed July 5, 1988.

[756 P.2d 741] Steven T. Johnson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Seattle, for Celotex Corp., Fibreboard Corp., Owens-Corning, Pittsburgh-Corning, Owens-Illinois, Keene Corp.

Cynthia Gannett, Williams, Kastner & Gibbs, Seattle, for Eagle-Picher Industries.

William J. Rutzick, Schroeter, Goldmark & Bender, Seattle, for respondents.

Page 955

Linda E. Blohm, McKay & Gaitan, Seattle, for Raymark Industries.

REED, Chief Judge.

Defendants, manufacturers of asbestos products, appeal a judgment in favor of Lyle Sorenson, who suffers asbestos-related impairments. Sorenson was employed at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for many years, from the early 1940's through the mid-1970's. Although he

Page 956

did not work with asbestos products personally, he frequently did work in areas where these products were applied or removed, and where asbestos dust filled the air.

In 1980, Sorenson's physician determined that Sorenson had asbestosis, which later worsened, and pulmonary disease related to his habit of smoking cigarettes. A more recent medical examination revealed a spot on Sorenson's lung, which proved to be a benign atelectasis. However, persons exposed to asbestos are at greater risk of contracting lung cancer or another form of cancer called mesothelioma.

In 1981, Sorenson filed this action against the defendant manufacturers, relying on negligence and products liability theories. At a pretrial hearing, the defendants' motion to exclude evidence of Sorenson's increased risk of contracting cancer was denied, and such evidence was admitted at trial. The jury awarded damages to Sorenson and his wife. The defendants' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or for a new trial, was denied.

First, the defendants contend that the trial court erred by denying their motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence that exposure to asbestos increased Sorenson's risk of contracting cancer. Evidentiary rulings are reviewed only for an abuse of the trial court's sound discretion, which occurs only when evidence is admitted that is both inadmissible and prejudicial. Caruso v. Local 690 Int. Bhd of Teamsters, 107 Wash.2d 524, 535, 730 P.2d 1299, cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 108 S.Ct. 67, 98 L.Ed.2d 31 (1987). The defendants argued that this evidence was not admissible unless Sorenson could demonstrate a reasonable probability that he would actually contract either form of cancer. Sorenson urged, and the trial court agreed, that the evidence was admissible to show the increased risk, relying on Herskovits v. Group Health Coop of Puget Sound, 99 Wash.2d 609, 664 P.2d 474 (1983), which held that a physician could be liable for a misdiagnosis that reduced to 14 percent a patient's 50 percent chance of surviving a terminal condition.

Page 957

In Herskovits, 99 Wash.2d at 614-15, 664 P.2d 474, two justices concluded that the plaintiff need establish only that the physician's negligence was a substantial factor in causing the patient's death. This analysis was founded on the rule that one is liable for the physical damages caused by negligently rendering aid to another and consequently...

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16 practice notes
  • Dormaier v. Columbia Basin Anesthesia, P.L.L.C. (In re Estate of Dormaier), Nos. 30864–2–III, 30864–1–III.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • November 14, 2013
    ...applies where the plaintiff “lost an opportunity and has no other redress ”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 957, 756 P.2d 740 (1988) (same); 16 David K. DeWolf & Keller W. Allen, Washington Practice: Tort Law and Practice § 4.10, at 156 (3d ed.2006) (stating the lost c......
  • Mohr v. Grantham, No. 84712–6.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 13, 2011
    ...a negligence or strict liability action involving a contaminated food product”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 957, 756 P.2d 740 (1988) (distinguishing Herskovits from an asbestos exposure claim that the plaintiff's risk of cancer was increased). Such limitation is com......
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Ford, No. 1804
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • February 9, 2012
    ...damages for fear and increased risk of cancer in cases where cancer had not yet developed”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., 51 Wash.App. 954, 756 P.2d 740, 742 (1988) (indicating that Washington state law requires physical injury or disease and evidence of a significant increased risk as a pre......
  • Mauro v. Raymark Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • August 1, 1989
    ...New Jersey's standard of reasonable medical probability that disease will occur); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 756 P.2d 740, 742 (1988) (excluding evidence that asbestosis increases risk of cancer where plaintiff unable to prove reasonable probability that cancer will......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Dormaier v. Columbia Basin Anesthesia, P.L.L.C. (In re Estate of Dormaier), Nos. 30864–2–III, 30864–1–III.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • November 14, 2013
    ...applies where the plaintiff “lost an opportunity and has no other redress ”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 957, 756 P.2d 740 (1988) (same); 16 David K. DeWolf & Keller W. Allen, Washington Practice: Tort Law and Practice § 4.10, at 156 (3d ed.2006) (stating the lost c......
  • Mohr v. Grantham, No. 84712–6.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • October 13, 2011
    ...a negligence or strict liability action involving a contaminated food product”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 957, 756 P.2d 740 (1988) (distinguishing Herskovits from an asbestos exposure claim that the plaintiff's risk of cancer was increased). Such limitation is com......
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Ford, No. 1804
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • February 9, 2012
    ...damages for fear and increased risk of cancer in cases where cancer had not yet developed”); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., 51 Wash.App. 954, 756 P.2d 740, 742 (1988) (indicating that Washington state law requires physical injury or disease and evidence of a significant increased risk as a pre......
  • Mauro v. Raymark Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • August 1, 1989
    ...New Jersey's standard of reasonable medical probability that disease will occur); Sorenson v. Raymark Indus., Inc., 51 Wash.App. 954, 756 P.2d 740, 742 (1988) (excluding evidence that asbestosis increases risk of cancer where plaintiff unable to prove reasonable probability that cancer will......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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