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Michelin Loses Asbestos Ruling Appeal

A French appeals court has confirmed the November 2006 ruling that Michelin negligently exposed workers to hazardous levels of asbestos during the 1960s and 1970s.

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The Nov. 16, 2006, decision made by the Tribunal des affaires de SÉcuritÉ Sociale (TASS) in Clermont-Ferrand related specifically to four former employees, including three who had died from asbestos related cancer.

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It was said that, between them, the four men insulated 1,400 metres of pipes with asbestos every month until 1973. Although Michelin claimed that the employees’ exposure to the carcinogenic material occurred in an era when the health dangers of asbestos were not widely known, the appeals court on January 8 upheld the decision related to the three deceased employees; a judgement is still to be made in the case of the fourth man.

The court’s confirmation of Michelin’s negligence means the tyre major must, in addition to any compensation awarded, pay the worker’s widows double their previous pension entitlement, a figure equalling 100% of their husbands’ salaries.

A Michelin spokesperson said the company would analyze the court’s decision and examine different possible responses. The case in question is the first of a number to be lodged against Michelin. A total of fifteen, including seven related to the deaths of former employees, have been instigated with TASS in Clermont-Ferrand. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)

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