UPDATE: In September 2014, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled they were not going to review the Court of Appeals' decision.The case will go back to trial as the trial court's summary judgment was overturned.
Frank Beacham, Lee Carter, Sam Lucas, and Hon. Norman Fletcher persuaded the Georgia Court of Appeals to overturn a trial court's decision to grant summary judgment in favor of all defendants. The firm's lawyers were engaged as appellate counsel by the plaintiff, a former sandblaster, who had been diagnosed with silicosis. The former sandblaster claimed his silicosis was caused by the defendants' defective design of protective equipment, or their failure to warn him of the specific dangers of sandblasting while using their equipment, or both.
The trial court dismissed the case in favor of the defendants, ruling that the plaintiff had failed to establish that the defendants had proximately caused his injury, and that the defendants did not have a duty to warn him of the known risks of sandblasting. The firm’s lawyers argued that the trial court erred in concluding that in order to establish proximate cause, the plaintiff was required to show the actual quantity of respirable silica he was exposed to while wearing the defendants’ products. The firm's lawyers also contended that the trial court erred in concluding that the defendants did not have a duty to warn him of the dangers posed by sandblasting. The Court of Appeals agreed with these arguments, and completely reversed the trial court.
The Court of Appeals decision was published on March 21, 2014, case number A13A2252. It may also be found at 2014 WL 1097951.