Smoker's family says career at Gulf justifies asbestos suit

David Yates Jun. 7, 2007, 11:00am

Bryan Blevins

Nearly two years ago Ray Rogers died of lung cancer at the age of 83. A smoker for most of his adult life, Rogers worked at the Gulf Oil Co. in Port Arthur from 1946 to 1980 as a boilermaker. His family and a Beaumont lawyer believe Rogers' profession and time period of employment make him a candidate for an asbestos lawsuit.

Attorney Bryan Blevins of Provost Umphrey will represent Linda Lou Rogers and Janice Arline Robinson, the executrix of the estate of Ray Rogers, and sue the A.O. Smith Corp., along with 42 other major corporations, for distributing products containing asbestos throughout Jefferson County.

This is the ninth case of its kind filed by Blevins in the last three months.

Linda and Janice have joined a list of growing plaintiffs in Jefferson County who are blaming an assortment of corporations, such as aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and iron supplier Zurn Industries, for manufacturing and distributing asbestos laced products.

They filed their lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on May June 6. Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

"No amount of due diligence would have allowed decedent to recover for his malignant asbestos-related injury when his original suit for non-malignant asbestos-related disease was brought," the suit said.
The 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."

The plaintiffs are 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.

They are also suing for funeral bills and the loss of numerous household services.

Case No. B179-447

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