LIMITATIONS IN CASES INVOLVING LONG-TERM CONTINUOUS EXPOSURE TO A TOXIC SUBSTANCE - JERKINS V. LINCOLN ELECTRIC CO., ET AL
In Jerkins v. Lincoln Electric Co., et al, [Ms. 1091533, June 30, 2011] So. 3d (Ala. 2011), the Alabama Supreme Court addressed three certified questions from an MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, overseeing approximately 1,800 cases for personal injuries allegedly caused by exposure to welding fumes. Several dozen of these cases are governed by Alabama law. The Court answered the certified questions as follows: (1) A plaintiff injured by long-term continuous exposure to a toxic substance is limited to recovering damages attributable to injuries occurring within the period of limitations; (2) A six-year limitations period applies to wantonness claims filed before Ex parte Capstone [Ms. 1090966, June 3, 2011] was released; (3) A plaintiff injured by long-term continuous exposure to a toxic substance bears the burden of establishing what damages, if any, are attributable to injuries occurring within the limitations period as opposed to injuries occurring outside that limitations period.