Lifelong smoker blames asbestos for cancer, sues 43 corporations

David Yates Apr. 2, 2007, 5:00pm

Bryan Blevins

A Jefferson County resident is suing the A.O. Smith Corp., along with 42 other major corporations, for distributing products containing asbestos throughout the county.

Donald Sims claims during his 37-year long employment with DuPont he was exposed to toxic dust, causing "him to suffer from asbestos-related diseases and other industrial dust diseases," according to the lawsuit he filed with the Jefferson County District Court on March 22.

The suit says Sims has been diagnosed with terminal malignant pleural mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer lining of the lung.

A Texas Occupational Medicine Institute document filed with the suit suggests Sims had occupational asbestos exposures beginning in 1961, or that he may have also had asbestos exposures while in the U.S. Navy between 1959 and 1961.

The document also indicates that he smoked one to two packs of cigarettes a day for nearly 50 years.

Sims is represented by Bryan O. Blevins, Jr. of the Provost & Umphrey Law Firm. Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court, will preside over the case.

Sims petition says the 43 defendants entangled in his lawsuit were negligent, failing to adequately test their asbestos-laced products before flooding the market with dangerous goods.

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."

"Each defendant is guilty of gross negligence. Such gross negligence was a proximate cause of the injuries and damages suffered by the plaintiff. Therefore, plaintiff seeks exemplary damages," the petition stated.

Sims 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.

Case No. B178-995

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