If a manufacturer ships an engine without a gasket and the buyer replaces it with an asbestos-laden part, is the manufacturer liable for any resulting injuries? In an apparent issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said yes.

The court’s decision came in the lawsuits of two widows of U.S. Navy sailors who contracted cancer from exposure to asbestos. In its ruling, the court scrapped the bare-metal defense—an argument that says if a manufacturer makes a product without asbestos, and asbestos is later added to it, the manufacturer cannot be held liable for the consequences.

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