Brief Fact Summary.
A man died of mesothelioma after working two separate and unrelated jobs that exposed him to asbestos. Asbestos causes mesothelioma.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The proximate cause of an event is the event without which the outcome would not have happened.
The first element of proximate cause, causation in fact, is often described as the but for rule.View Full Point of Law
Lokey worked for several years in a naval shipyard, where he was exposed to asbestos in his capacity as a pipe-fitter. Afterwards, he worked as a Virginia State Trooper, where he worked on brake drums which also contained asbestos. Asbestos was discovered to cause mesothelioma.
Was the brake dust the proximate cause of Lokey’s mesothelioma?
Yes, proximate cause includes situations where there are multiple concurring causes.
The court reasoned that proximate cause includes situations of multiple concurring causes. In such situations, the question of determining proximate cause is whether the cause in question would be sufficient by itself to cause the outcome. Here, the court found that the exposure to the asbestos dust in his cavity as a state trooper could have been enough, and remanded for further proceedings.