The family of a former California oil refinery worker recently brought a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of asbestos insulation.
Many individuals throughout California have been exposed to asbestos-containing materials in the workplace. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was used in thousands of products to make materials stronger and flame-resistant. Asbestos exposure has been linked to a variety of health problems in workers, in particular a deadly form of a cancer called mesothelioma.
The family of the oil refinery worker alleges that he was exposed to asbestos while working at Standard Oil's El Segundo refinery. The man worked at the refinery from 1959 to 1967, but was not diagnosed with mesothelioma until June 2005.
It is not uncommon for mesothelioma to go undetected until decades after a worker's asbestos exposure. Symptoms of mesothelioma often mimic other diseases so the cancer is often not detected until it is in highly advanced stages. The refinery worker had to undergo surgery and radiation treatments, but ultimately died of his cancer a few months after the treatments.
The man's asbestos exposure was similar to thousands of other California manufacturing and refinery workers during this period. The worker was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation that was sawed in the open by co-workers who did not have any facial protection. Companies that produced asbestos-containing insulation were allegedly aware that asbestos was linked to serious health problems, but failed to warn companies and workers of the health risks associated with the asbestos-laced insulation.
In our next post, we will discuss two of the legal theories that the worker's family presented in its lawsuit against the insulation manufacturer.