Thursday, October 4, 2007

Heavy smoker' dies of cancer, benefactor sues for asbestos exposure

A plant operator for most of his life, Jack Jones sued and received a settlement for his asbestos-related disease. Now deceased, Jones' benefactor is suing for a "different malignant asbestos-related injury." Jones had an "extensive" cigarette smoking history.

Attorney Bryan Blevins of Provost Umphrey filed the lawsuit on behalf of Barbara Jones against the A.O. Smith Corp. and 41 other corporations, claiming the companies knowingly and maliciously manufactured and distributed asbestos-containing products throughout Jefferson County.

The suit was filed with the Jefferson County District Court on Oct. 2, 2007.

The plaintiff's original petition says the 42 defendants entangled in his lawsuit were negligent for failing to adequately test their asbestos-laced products before flooding the market with dangerous goods and warn the consumer of the dangers of asbestos exposure.

Some of the defendants listed in the suit include aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Viacom and iron supplier Zurn Industries.

In addition, the petition faults Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. (3M Corporation) and American Optical Corp. for producing defective masks that failed to "provide respiratory protection."

Although Jones sued and received a claim while he was alive, the suit says, "Plaintiff now seeks damages against defendants not released in the previous actions pursuant to Pustejovsky v. Rapid-American Corp."

"The court must apply a separate accrual rule in these cases because a single action rule would forbid a second suit and in doing so force the asbestos plaintiff to file premature litigation on speculative claims, which the court in Pustejovsky notes is neither efficient or desirable," the suit said.

Medical documents attached to the suit indicated Jones was "a heavy smoker." He died sometime between the years of 2005 and 2007.

Upon attorney Blevins' request, Dr. J.D. Briton of the Texas Occupational Medicine Institute reviewed Jones' medical history and wrote in the suit that, "It is my current medical opinion that within reasonable medical probability Mr. Jack Jones has pulmonary asbestosis and respiratory impairment."

According to the suit, "Decedent was engaged in the course of his employment as an Operator, and in other various roles and capacities where he was required to work with, and/or around asbestos and asbestos containing products and materials, which caused him to suffer from asbestos-related diseases and other industrial dust diseases caused by breathing the asbestos-containing products."

The plaintiff is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement in the past and future, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, has been assigned to the case.


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