Asbestos Cases in the Italian Courts: Duelling with Uncertainty
The article investigates Italian civil Courts case-law on asbestos damages, focusing mainly on the issues of causation and fault. The diseases caused by asbestos exposure are often multifactorial diseases, to which the test of condition sine qua non cannot be applied to ascertain causation. The analysis of Italian case-law reveals a lack of uniformity in the criteria adopted to affirm the causation, contrasted by the uniformity of the criteria used to held the fault of the defendants. Such situation generates uncertainty in the protection of the rights of both the petitioners and the defendants. The lack of homogeneity in the criteria applied to establish the existence of causation is not exclusive of asbestos compensation cases, but is a constant characteristic of Italian civil case law, only lately reversed. Lastly, the author suggests some criteria that could be applied to ascertain causation in asbestos cases and other multifactorial diseases.