Pfizer to face asbestos cases following court rulingA ruling handed down recently by a federal appeals court specifies that Pfizer Inc. will not be shielded from some asbestos claims against its non-operating Quigley Co. unit, Bloomberg reports.
According to the news source, Quigley manufactured asbestos-containing products for the steel industry between the 1940s and 1970s. Pfizer, which purchased the now-bankrupt Quigley in 1968, claimed it had never made or sold any Quigley products.
However, the latest appeals court ruling allows some lawsuits against Pfizer to continue based on manufacturer liability under Pennsylvania state law, the news source said.
Asbestos claims against Quigley could reach $4.45 billion over the next four decades, according to a testimony referenced by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein in September 2011. Reuters reports Quigley once faced asbestos lawsuits from more than 160,000 plaintiffs, before filing for bankruptcy in 2004.
Exposure to asbestos-containing products can have serious consequences including the development of asbestosis, lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the U.S. each year.