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Bednar v. Bassett Furniture Mfg. Co.

ELR Citation: 28 ELR 21316
Nos. 97-4098, 147 F.3d 737/(8th Cir., 06/24/1998)

The court holds that plaintiffs in a toxic tort case produced sufficient evidence to show that a piece of furniture emitted levels of gaseous formaldehyde known to cause the type of injuries suffered by the plaintiffs' child. The court first holds that the plaintiffs produced substantial evidence of the levels of exposure to gaseous formaldehyde that are hazardous to human beings generally. The court next holds that the plaintiffs also provided substantial evidence of the actual level of exposure to gaseous formaldehyde that their child was exposed to. There was testing of the formaldehyde source, and the plaintiffs produced evidence that their child was actually exposed to dangerous levels of gaseous formaldehyde. The court then holds that the evidence put in the record provided a sufficient basis from which a trier of fact could infer that the child's exposure to gaseous formaldehyde exceeded safe levels. And based on all the evidence, a jury could infer that it was more likely than not that the child's illnesses were caused by exposure to unsafe levels of formaldehyde emanating from the dresser. Therefore, the plaintiffs produced a submissible case on causation, and the district court erred in granting summary judgment to the defendant furniture manufacturer.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Stephen A. Matthews, R. Scott Morgan
Bridges, Young, Matthews & Drake
315 E. 8th Ave., Pine Bluff AR 71611
(870) 534-5532

Counsel for Defendant
D. Keith Fortner, G. Spence Fricke
Barber, McCaskill, Jones & Hale
400 W. Capitol Ave., Ste. 2700, Little Rock AR 72201
(501) 372-6175

Before Bowman1 and McMillian, JJ.