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Texas: Internet Research Insufficient to Show Plaintiff's Cancer Was Tied to Work-place Conditions

December 09, 2020 (1 min read)

Stressing the importance of expert medical testimony in establishing a connection between cancer and the work environment, an appellate court in Texas affirmed a trial court's order granting a former employer summary judgment in a case in which the former employee contended he contracted prostate cancer and colon cancer through his work-related exposure to toxic chemicals. The plaintiff, who appeared pro se, filed a personal affidavit in which he stated that colon and prostate cancers had been "clearly tied to cadmium exposures in scientific literature." To that affidavit, he attached portions of medical literature that he had found "online." At the defendants' request, the trial court struck the attachments and granted the defendant's traditional and no-evidence motion and entered a take-nothing judgment against the plaintiff. The appellate court stressed that toxic tort cases required proof of both “general” and “specific” causation. “General” causation addressed whether a substance was capable of causing a particular injury or condition in the general population, while specific causation addressed whether a substance caused a particular individual’s injury. Because of the complexity of those issues, expert testimony was almost always required in toxic-tort and chemical-exposure cases. Having come forward with no qualified evidence, the trial court's summary judgment order was appropriate, said the appellate court.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Chandra v. Leonardo DRS, Inc., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 9177 (Nov. 24, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 128.05.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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