Ford brake parts not responsible for asbestos-related death, appellate court rules

By Takesha Thomas | Aug 7, 2018

A Pittsburgh widow blames Ford brake parts for her husband's death from lung cancer.  

HARRISBURG –– The widow of a Pittsburgh man who claimed asbestos exposure killed him lost her appeal in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on July 23.

Sharon Gilbert, the widow of Guy Gilbert, brought a lawsuit against Ford Motor Company, Advanced Auto Parts and Automotive Distribution Network in 2017. 

According to court documents, Guy worked as an auto mechanic for Alray Tire in Pittsburgh from 1975 and 1985. Three years ago, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer that primarily affects those exposed to asbestos fibers.

Gilbert claimed her husband was exposed to brake dust containing asbestos while working mostly on Ford automobiles. Her complaint focused on brakes manufactured by Ford and sold to companies like Advanced Auto Parts and Automotive Distribution Network. . 

The trial court ruled in favor of the automotive companies and Gilbert appealed.

Her attorneys argued the lower court failed to consider testimony from others who also claimed that asbestos were in the Ford manufactured brakes. 

However, Judge Carolyn Nichols found Gilbert did not produce enough evidence to specify what product caused her husband's death. 

"The failture to identify the offending product is fatal to a plaintiff's claim because without proper product identification, the plaintiff cannot show a defendant manufactured or sold the product," Nichols wrote in the opinion. 

Nichols wrote the claims were "general assertions that Alray would have obtained parts from 'Advanced  Auto Parts' store or the 'Beacon Auto Parts' and that the brakes  purchased would have contained asbestos."

Judges Jacqueline Shogan and Correale Stevens concurred.

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Advanced Auto Parts Ford Motor Co Superior Court of Pennsylvania

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