Virginia man files suit in Galveston County over asbestos exposure

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 23, 2008, 10:42am

Aaron DeLuca

GALVESTON -- Whether Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company and several other businesses are responsible for a Virginia man's deteriorating health from prolonged asbestos exposure will be determined by a Galveston County jury.

Larry Wilbur Hacker and his wife Leslie Hacker of Crockett, Va., demanded Apr. 21 for a properly impaneled jury to hear their case before Judge Wayne Mallia of the 405th District Court.

Their suit, which was filed Apr. 16, alleges 3M Company and a number of corporations knowingly subjected Larry Wilbur Hacker to asbestos and related products they reportedly designed, manufactured, and sold during his respective stints as a boiler technician and general maintenance man.

The plaintiffs claim that "Larry Wilbur Hacker had been exposed, on numerous occasions, to asbestos-containing products and possibly machinery requiring or calling for the use of asbestos, thus he had inhaled great quantities of asbestos fibers."

The couple also contends that "Larry Wilbur Hacker was unaware of the hazards and defects in the asbestos-containing products of the Defendants, which made them unsafe for purposes of manipulation and installation," explains the suit. "Similarly, Larry Wilbur Hacker was unaware of the hazards and defects in the machinery requiring or calling for the use of asbestos or asbestos-containing materials."

It is possible the defendants may have violated numerous federal and state regulations pertaining to asbestos exposure, according to the suit.

"Plaintiffs are simply using the violation of federal standards as proof of liability on their state-law theories."

Union Carbide Corporation and Phillips Electronics North America Corporation are named supplier defendants in the case.

Other counts the suit lists include conspiracy, gross negligence, and aiding and abetting.

At present, Larry Wilbur Hacker is suffering from malignant mesothelioma, of which he was diagnosed on Jan. 17.

Attorney Aaron J. Deluca represents the Hackers. They are seeking reimbursement for Larry Wilbur Hacker's medical expenses, lost earnings, and net accumulations in addition to punitive and exemplary damages.

Case No. 08CV0383

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