Texas Supreme Court Overturns Law That Shielded Company From Asbestos Lawsuits

Texas Supreme Court strikes down clause protecting company from asbestos suitsThe Texas Supreme Court has recently overturned a law that retroactively protected bottle-cap producer Crown Cork and Seal from asbestos lawsuits on the grounds of unconstitutionality.

Crown Cork and Seal did not produce products with asbestos, but bought Mundet Cork in 1966 for $7 million, according to the Southeast Texas Record.

Since Mundet Cork did produce products using asbestos, Crown has since faced liability for asbestos lawsuits that resulted from Mundet's use of the hazardous product. Crown has had to pay out $413 million to address claims as a result of its buyout of Mundet.

In 2003, the Texas legislature inserted a clause about retroactive relief into a larger litigation reform law to ease the burden of asbestos lawsuits against Crown, according to the news source.

The Texas Supreme Court recently found this clause unconstitutional and overturned it, pointing out that it was clear to the Court that the clause was crafted to benefit Crown and no one else, and that "private economic interests will generally not justify intrusions into the vested private rights of others," Justice David Medina wrote in the decision.