Widow of Shipyard Worker Files Wrongful Death Suit, Citing Asbestos Exposure
Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 4, 2014 - On June 30, Shirley Holmes of Gretna, Louisiana, filed a wrongful death lawsuit after her husband's passing, pointing toward alleged asbestos exposure he suffered years before.
In the 1970's, Kermit Holmes worked at the Avondale shipyard in Louisiana, where he was allegedly exposed to asbestos dust and fibers. In the years that followed, he developed asbestosis and mesothelioma lung cancer. He died in September 2013.
"His wife blames his death on this exposure, claiming that he was not provided with appropriate safety equipment that could have protected him from the harmful fibers," explained Richard LaGarde, a Louisiana workplace accident and wrongful death attorney not affiliated with the case.
Asbestos was used as insulation and a fire retardant for more than 2,000 years before its dangerous risks were confirmed. In the 1930's, workers began to bring and win lawsuits against employers who had exposed them to the mineral fibers, but the use of the material remained legal (though discouraged by such suits). Some manufacturers continued to expose their employees in spite of the risk, favoring the profitable and simple solutions the material offered in construction.
Today, the use of asbestos is legally banned in some types of structures. "Protective measures, including disposable clothing covers and company showers, were designed to shield workers from exposure, and they were readily available for use in the 1970's. The dangers of asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma were solidly confirmed by the time Mr. Holmes worked at the Avondale yard," LaGarde noted.
The list of defendants is lengthy: Holmes has named 3M Company, American Employers Insurance Company, ANCO Insulations Inc., Avondale Industries, Avondale Shipyard, Albert Bossier Jr., CBS Corporation, The Dox Chemical Company, Eagle Inc., Foster-Wheeler LLC, Huntington Ingalls Incorporated, Maryland Casualty Company and Onebeacon America Insurance Company.
The suit alleges that Holmes' employers should have known of and acted against the health risks their site posed. The case claims that the defendants failed to reveal and concealed critical information, including the risk of working with asbestos. Moreover, they allegedly failed to provide sufficient and necessary protection or proper ventilation.
Above all, the suit argues, these companies are at fault for Holmes' death because of their reckless, improper handling and storage of the dangerous material.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
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