Orange County suit names 56 defendants for exposing man to asbestos

David Yates Oct. 29, 2008, 4:30am

Lou Thompson Black

Representing the estate of Augustus Rochester, Lois Rochester has filed an asbestos suit against A.W. Chesterton and 55 other companies, claiming the corporate defendants maliciously inflicted her benefactor with an asbestos illness.

The suit was filed Oct. 7 in Orange County District Court.

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 home care costs.

She also seeks punitive and exemplary damages.

Lou Thompson Black of Brent Coon and Associates is representing the plaintiff.

The case has been assigned to Judge Dennis Powell of the 163rd Judicial District.

Case No. B-080365-c

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