Bale v Seltsam Pty Ltd

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Citation: [1996[ qca 288

This information can be found in the Textbook: Sappideen, Vines, Grant & Watson, Torts: Commentary and Materials (Lawbook Co, 10th ed, 2009), p. 209


Background facts

  • Appellant's husband worked for Respondent (a company).
  • He would often come back from work with asbestos dust all over his clothing and all over his car.
  • The Appellant was obviously exposed to this asbestos dust when she washed his clothes or drove in his car, and she developed malignant mesothelioma as a result.
  • The Appellant sued the Respondent for negligence.

Legal issues


Majority opinion:

  • The court ruled that "at the relevant time that consequence [Appellant's injury] was, having regard to the state of scientific knowledge on the subject not reasonably foreseeable."

Dissenting opinion:

  • "The respondent ought to have known, at least by the end of 1963, that there was a risk amongst the unidentified and unknown possible toxic effects of asbestos dust was injurty to those, such as wives, who are exposed to it."


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