Suit says manufacturers conspired to distribute asbestos products

David Yates Jul. 23, 2007, 1:50pm

Thurman Cash is suing A.W. Chesterton, along with 70 other companies, for conspiring to mine, process, sell and distribute asbestos products, suppressing the information pertaining to the fiber's hazardous influence on human health, and purposely inflicting him with an asbestos disease.

Looking for compensation for his assumed exposure to asbestos and asbestos related disease, Cash's nine-count personal-injury lawsuit was filed with the Jefferson County District Court on July 19.

A mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant, asbestos has been utilized by mankind for more than 2,000 years, said the Environmental Protection Agency's Web site.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, companies such as Viacom, General Electric and Zurn Industries knew that the asbestos products they manufactured would hit the market without inspection for defects.

"Defendants knowingly conspired among themselves to cause Cash's injuries, diseases, and illness and/or death by exposing him to asbestos," the suit said. "Defendants committed conspiracy by willfully misrepresenting and suppressing the truth as to the risks and dangers associated with asbestos."

The suit says the defendants have been in possession of medical and scientific data exposing the health risks of asbestos for decades, but conspired among themselves to suppress the information.

A man of many trades, the suit indicates Cash was most likely exposed to asbestos while working at shipyards, steel mills, refineries, paper mills, chemical plants, the military and other facilities in the U.S. However, the suit does not give specifics on the location or time of Hunter's employment.

"Cash has sustained damages including injuries�and has been deprived of the opportunity of informed free choice," the suit said. "Each defendant violated federal and state regulations relating to asbestos exposure."

Cash 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, including homecare costs.

He also seeks punitive and exemplary damages. "Plaintiff will rely on a fair and impartial jury to provide compensation�," the suit said.

Brent Coon & Associates attorney Lou Thompson Black represents Hunter.

According to the Brent Coon & Associates Web site, Lou Thompson Black is the managing partner of the Houston office of Brent Coon and Associates. She manages hundreds of asbestos cancer cases filed in various jurisdictions and states. Mrs. Black's primary practice area is toxic tort law, including products liability, premises liability, and employer liability.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. B179-688

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