Hardie and CSR Avoid “Collusion” Charges for Trial This Week
Here is an article updating this prior post on the effort to amend “collusion” claims against James Hardie and CSR in an asbestos personal injury trial. In short, the court denied the motion to amend on the eve of trial in this particular case, but is said to have indicated that similar amendments might be allowed in other cases not so close to trial. See the full text below. _________________________________________________________________________
Judge denies late changes in asbestos case
LEONIE WOOD February 10, 2010 . THE Victorian Supreme Court has declined late changes to an asbestos damages case in which a Melbourne man, who is dying from mesothelioma, planned to accuse James Hardie and CSR of joining forces to disguise the dangers of asbestos.
Justice Terry Forrest said the proposed amendments in their present form would not be allowed. Although the judge said the proposed pleadings in the case of Robert Berengo were deficient, he also made it clear that litigants in the future might well be able to allege joint liability if they properly set out the material facts and the case that is to be answered.
Mr Berengo wanted to allege that the Australian asbestos manufacturers deliberately did not put their brand names on their asbestos-related products during the 1960s and 1970s, making it harder to identify which of the two should bear liability in cases of injury and disease. He also wanted to allege that the companies had agreed to co-operate to dissuade regulators from restricting the use of asbestos and to influence public opinion about the dangers of their product. Mr Berengo’s trial, in which he accused the two companies of negligence, begins on Tuesday