Asbestos suit alleges intentional exposure, conspiracy caused man's death

Kelly Holleran Mar. 11, 2009, 11:00am

Asbestos fibers

The family of a Nederland man has filed a lawsuit against 57 corporations, claiming the man died after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace.

On behalf of herself and Florenda Gale Gonzales and Gerald C. Taylor Jr., Delores Del Taylor claims Gerald C. Taylor Sr. died from the disease June 6, 2006, according to a lawsuit filed March 2 in Jefferson County District Court.

Gerald C. Taylor Sr. worked as a boilermaker, heavy equipment operator, sandblaster, shipfitter and lab technician in Port Neches as Uniroyal, Texas US Chemical, Texaco Butadiene, Synpol, Texaco, Neches Butane, Uniroyal Goodrich Tire and Ameripol-Synpol as well as in Galveston at the Todd Shipyard.

These companies are named as "premises defendants" in the lawsuit.

"Because Decedent was an invitee, Defendants owed Decedent a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition, inspect the premises to discover latent defects and to make safe any defects or give an adequate warning of any dangers,"

Other defendant companies are generally the manufacturers and/or marketers of the asbestos containing products or companies that sold, supplied, installed and/or marketed the asbestos containing products.

Defendants listed include American Petroleum Institute, Bechtel, Certainteed, Chevron, Fluor, Foster Wheeler, General Refractories, HB Zachry, Holman Boiler Works, Huntsman, Michelin, Owens-Illinois, Superior Boiler Works, Trinity Construction, Washington Group and Zurn Industries.

Delores Del Taylor states Gerald C. Taylor Sr. was exposed to asbestos fibers through thermal and electrical insulation products, flooring materials, textiles, gaskets, wicking and packing, mastics, cement products, coatings and asbestos mineral used at his work places.

She claims his disease was caused after he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers.

The defendants possessed or knew of scientific and medical research, but "acted in concert to destroy or conceal such information and prevent it from falling into the hands of their victims," the suit states.

"Having adopted a code of secrecy and suppression, Defendants joined together in maintaining a united front in the suppression of evidence and destruction of documents, with the willing aid of their trade association surrogates," complaint alleges.

Delores Del Taylor alleges the asbestos-related disease caused Gerald C. Taylor Sr. to incur substantial medical costs. He also suffered a loss of his ability to enjoy life, a reduced work life expectancy and intense pain, suffering and mental anguish.

Because of Gerald C. Taylor Sr.'s death, his family has lost his society and consortium and has incurred funeral expenses, the suit states.

Delores Del Taylor is seeking punitive damages in excess of the minimum jurisdictional limits of the court, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief to which she is entitled.

She is represented by Glen W. Morgan and Chris Portner of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B183-414

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