Complaint alleges 53 companies concealed asbestos hazards

David Yates Sep. 8, 2008, 8:27am

After filing an asbestos suit against 67 companies last week, Brent Coon & Associates attorney Lou Thompson Black started this week with another case naming 53 companies that allegedly conspired to conceal the hazards of asbestos.

The latest suit, Harvey Williams vs. A.W. Chesterton, was filed Sept. 8 in Jefferson County District Court and claims the corporate defendants maliciously inflicted Williams with an asbestos-related disease by manufacturing, selling and using asbestos products.

The suit does not give specifics on Williams' employment or how asbestos products injured him.

A mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials as 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 plaintiff'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.

"Plaintiff 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."

The plaintiff 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.

Attorney Lou Thompson Black represents the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd of the 172nd Judicial District.

Case No. E182-251

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