Become a Fan

twitter / LegalPadblog


« Mehserle's Guilty, But How Will the Gun Enhancement Play Out? | Main | 9th Circuit Gets Off Easy In Contentious Gun Control Case »

July 12, 2010


Chris Wood

Neither the Kazan, McClain nor Waters & Kraus nor other California asbestos litigation firm has ever brought a lawsuit alleging their client's asbestos related disease is caused in whole or part to exposure to naturally occurring California serpentine rock. Moreover, there is not one epidemiological or other scientific study that convincingly shows asbestos in naturally occuring California serpentine causes asbestos related disease (See, Pan, et al., 2005). To load the bill with adjectives describing serpentine as "deadly" is misleading and inflamatory. This is wrong, furthermore, because it abrogates geological and historical reality. This has to be seen as an effort to burnish the bills supporters' abilities to attract clients, encourage litigation and fan fear among citizens (especially in areas studied by the DTSC in El Dorado County). The Legislature should look at the science, talk to its government scientists at the DTSC and then get back to working on bigger issues (like a budget) and not be sucked into this.


As I understand it, serpentine is not all that dangerous unless you inhale just stop snorting it and you'll be fine.

Other states have dangerous rocks as well, that are not so easily dealt with. The state rock in both Missouri and Wisconsin is basically "Lead Ore"...perhaps they should change theirs quickly before some of it ends up in their drinking water or their plastic toys. (class action suit idea)

...and why loose sleep over all the dangerous state rocks, when there state animals that could cause bodily injury? Has anyone tried to sue California for being attacked by a grizzley bear? Can people in Florida sue if an alligator bites them? The West Virginia animal is a rattlesnake I think....the lawsuit ideas here are limitless.

Terry Trent

To Chris Wood. That isn't precisely true. Not precisely. I worked on two cases brought by these asbestos litigation firms, one which did indeed claim the real cause of disease as environmental (though they named the wrong fiber type and serpentine), the other skated the issue because it is a slightly harder case to make although the cause was life long exposure to natural occurring Tremolite. The Pan investigation, which I inspired, was a first attempt in California although such papers have successfully delineated epidemics caused by Tremolite, Crocidolite and Erionite in literally hundreds of areas of the world. (See Metsovo, New Caledonia, Crete, Cyprus, Turkey, China, Australia, etc etc ad infinitum).

The main reason these law suits aren't common knowledge, or more importantly the attorneys sue the wrong people for the wrong reasons, is that there is a set list of defendants who settle quite easily. If I were an attorney I would not bring a case that was hard to delineate, when there is a whole group of really wealthy defendants out there who cave in quite readily, relatively.

As it works out, somewhere slightly less than 1/2 of all mesotheliomas worldwide, are caused by exposures to natural occurring amphibole and erionite deposits or sources. It is no different in California. Probably no to very very few of these mesotheliomas are caused by Serpentine....ground up and snorted or not. In the case of Tremolite we see that the diseases are not just mesothelioma but strong lung disorders in about 20% of the isolated population exposed. We don't see this 20% with environmental serpentine.

So although I agree with you basically regarding Serpentine, the elephant in the room in California are the Tremolite deposits mapped in California in the early 1960's (and the extreme likelihood that we have erionite deposits in California also). These are not serpentine and they generate human as well as some animal disease just as easily and readily as this material does in other parts of the world. We simply have a legal structure that helps hide it all from the future victims.

Carol Cavanaugh

Re: tremolite:"These are not serpentine and they generate human as well as some animal disease just as easily and readily as this material does in other parts of the world. We simply have a legal structure that helps hide it all from the future victims." Well said.

It might not be as well known as serpentine but that does not mean it is safe:

The comments to this entry are closed.

  • lawjobs
    Search For Jobs

    Job Type


    Keyword (optional)

August 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31