|The state Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a former Bay Area service station owner to seek additional damages from Ford Motor Co. for exposing him to brake-lining asbestos that has afflicted him with terminal cancer.|
A jury awarded Patrick Scott $1.5 million in damages and legal costs against Ford in November 2012. Wednesday's order allows him to ask another jury for punitive damages. Scott and his wife, Sharon, have settled claims against other automakers for undisclosed amounts.
Scott worked in a Navy shipyard, where he was also exposed to asbestos, before opening his first service station in Sausalito in 1965. He leased an Atlantic Richfield station in San Francisco in 1970, then moved his business to a Beacon station in St. Helena in 1977.
He stopped working in 2011 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable form of lung cancer that is caused by asbestos but typically does not show up until decades after exposure.
Asbestos has long been used in the linings of motor vehicle brakes and clutches and is still used in brake pads, though it is banned in some other products. Scientists had established its connection to cancer by the mid-1950s, but the federal government did not regulate workplace asbestos exposure until 1971.
According to court records, Ford mentioned asbestos in one of its publications in 1975 but did not put warnings on brake cartons until at least 1980. A Ford internal investigation cited by Scott's lawyers found mesothelioma among company...