Sopha v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas

In Sopha v. Owens-Corning Fiberglas, 230 Wis. 2d 212, 601 N.W.2d 627 (Wis. 1999) the plaintiff's claim for a non-malignant asbestos- related condition was dismissed on the merits and with prejudice several years before he filed a claim for malignant mesothelioma. In considering whether limitations or the prior suit bars the claim, the court considered the interplay between Wisconsin's single action rule, its discovery rule, and its rule limiting recovery of damages to those that can be proven as "reasonably certain consequences." Sopha, 601 N.W.2d at 633. After reviewing the policy those rules advanced, the court concluded that the earlier diagnosis did not trigger the running of limitations for mesothelioma. Sopha, 601 N.W.2d at 634-36. The court further held that res judicata did not bar the plaintiff's claim because the development of mesothelioma could not have reasonably been predicted when the earlier suit was brought. Sopha, 601 N.W.2d at 639.