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Choice-of-Law Issue Addressed In Asbestos Case

By FindLaw Staff on February 19, 2010 11:26 AM

In McCann v. Foster Wheeler, LLC, No. S162435, the Court dealt with the choice-of-law issue arising in plaintiff's lawsuit against a manufacturer of large boilers, alleging that exposure to asbestos during a two week period in 1957 caused his mesothelioma.

In concluding that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that California law applies to the case rather than Oklahoma law, the Court explained: "In the event [defendant] were to be denied the protection afforded by the Oklahoma statute of repose and be subjected to the extended timeliness rule embodied in California law, the subordination of Oklahoma's interest in the application of its law would rest solely upon the circumstance that after defendant engaged in the allegedly tortious conduct in Oklahoma, plaintiff happened to move to a jurisdiction whose law provides more favorable treatment to plaintiff than that available under Oklahoma law."

Thus, the Court found that Oklahoma's interest (as embodied in its statute of repose) would be more impaired if its law were not applied under the circumstances of this case than would be California's interest if  its statute of limitations is not applied. 

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