Asbestos Victim Wins California Appeal Ruling in Loss of Consortium Claim

The Lanier Law Firm Represents Wife Of Mesothelioma Victim Against Auto Parts Maker


LOS ANGELES – The California 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles has ruled in favor of the wife of a mesothelioma victim who says she is entitled to damages against a manufacturer of asbestos products based on the loss of consortium with her husband.

Frederick Kenney of Fort Jones, Calif., sued Tennessee-based auto parts manufacturer Hennessy Industries Inc. and other companies for negligence and products liability based on their use of asbestos products. Mr. Kenney was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2011 after being exposed to asbestos during his service in the U.S. Navy in the 1950s and 1960s, and when he later worked as a mechanic. His wife, Sherrell Vanhooser, filed a loss of consortium claim against the same defendants. Mesothelioma is a debilitating, deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

In the lawsuit, attorneys from The Lanier Law Firm argued that Ms. Vanhooser’s loss of consortium claim should be allowed. However, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge granted Hennessy’s motion for summary judgment based on the argument that Mr. Kenney and his wife were not married until after Mr. Kenney last was exposed to asbestos.

Earlier this month, a three-judge panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeal ordered the trial court to vacate its order granting summary judgment, after finding that “injury to the spouse in the latent disease context occurs when the illness or its symptoms are discovered or diagnosed, not at the time of the tortious act causing the harm.” The case is Vanhooser v. Hennessey, No. BC-468065, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

“This is an important ruling that will have far-reaching impact in asbestos litigation, as trial courts across California have been all over the map on this issue,” says The Lanier Law Firm lead counsel for Ms. Vanhooser. “Husbands and wives are greatly impacted when a spouse develops an asbestos-related disease, so this ruling certainly moves them one step closer to justice.”

The Toxic Exposure and Asbestos practice at The Lanier Law Firm is one of the largest in the country. 

With offices in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, intellectual property, business litigation, product liability, maritime law, bad faith insurance claims and sports and entertainment law.

For more information on the loss of consortium ruling, please contact J.D. Cargill at [email protected].