Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that was used in thousands of products for the past 100 years. Asbestos exposure in the workplace has been linked to a type of cancer called mesothelioma, which often goes undetected until it is too late. Mesothelioma is often hard to detect because its symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other less serious maladies.
The families of mesothelioma victims often bring wrongful death lawsuits against the companies that produced, delivered and installed asbestos-laced products such as insulation and textiles. Insulation is a common product that leads to mesothelioma claims. Asbestos was heavily used in insulation because it resists heat and makes products fire-resistant. When asbestos-containing insulation is cut, asbestos fibers can spread through the air and cause cancer in those who inhale it. Fibers can also get caught on a person's clothing and cause that person's family members to develop mesothelioma.
One recent mesothelioma case was brought by the widow and children of a machinist who died after being exposed to asbestos at his job site. The widow sued the company that manufactured or supplied the asbestos that the machinist was exposed to at his job starting in the late 1960s.
The widow testified that the machinist had to test ovens as part of his job and was tasked with fashioning new asbestos-based insulation for ovens that were damaged. The delivery company challenged the widow's case with a summary judgment motion, but she ultimately prevailed. The widow sufficiently alleged that the machinist was regularly exposed to asbestos and the exposure came from products that the company delivered.
"Decedent worked with asbestos insulation, cutting and drilling asbestos products," the court wrote. "He was exposed to its dust on a regular and frequent basis from the 1960s at least through the 1980s."
The court went on to note that the company did not attempt to dispute that the machinist was exposed to asbestos at work and that the company failed to establish that other companies delivered the asbestos insulation to the worksite.
It is unclear whether a court's decision to deny the company's summary judgment motion will result in a settlement. Many mesothelioma cases are resolved in the settlement stage, but an experienced mesothelioma injury attorneyshould be able to either craft a fair settlement or take a case to trial if necessary.