1. Who should have warned Barker of the dangers of working with asbestos?
2. A dissenting opinion was written, saying that the case should have gone to a jury because Hennessy knew that its machines and lathes could be used only with dangerous asbestos-related products. Do you agree or disagree with the dissent? Why?
3. What would have to be proved for a defense of assumption of risk to be effective had this gone to trial?
Barker was a mechanic who repaired cars, trucks, tractors and similar vehicles from 1967 to 1995. Barker’s work required him to use heavy machinery to grind, sand, and cut components such as brake linings and brake shoes. These components contained asbestos which has been proven to cause disease in those who inhale the dust produced by the grinding and cutting of the components. The machines that Barker used to work on these components were manufactured by a predecessor company to Hennessey Industries. Barker died in 2008 from asbestos-related illnesses and his wife sued Hennessy under a strict liability theory.