Plaintiffs in product liability suits under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) may recover damages for mental anguish resulting from the fear of developing cancer. Norfolk & Western Railway Co., v. Ayers, No. 01-963, U.S. S. Ct., March 10, 2003.
Six former employees of Norfolk & Western Railway Co. (Norfolk) sued Norfolk under the FELA, claiming that it had negligently exposed them to asbestos and caused them to contract asbestosis. The plaintiffs sought damages for mental anguish based on their fear of developing cancer. The Circuit Court of West Virginia instructed the jury that the plaintiffs were entitled to such damages and the jury returned a verdict awarding damages to each plaintiff. The West Virginia Supreme Court denied discretionary review, but the U.S. Supreme granted certiorari.
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