Galveston woman's asbestos suit blames maritime companies for father's death

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 15, 2009, 3:27pm

Ian Cloud

GALVESTON – A local woman claims several maritime companies are responsible for her father's death from an illness allegedly caused by asbestos exposure.

Laura Bodin filed suit against Todd Pacific Shipyard Corp., Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. and other businesses in Galveston County District Court on Apr. 13 on behalf of the late Pedro Perez and his surviving family.

Perez was a Jones Act seaman employed by Great Lakes in the early 1960s.

He was exposed to asbestos, and as a result, contracted mesothelioma, the suit says.

Perez's family insists that he was unaware of the danger which asbestos carries until his diagnosis.

The plaintiffs fault the companies for not providing Perez a safe working environment and a sound vessel and warning him of any potential hazards, claiming the defendants violated the Jones Act.

"Under that act, Great Lakes owed to Perez a duty to furnish him a safe place in which to work and a seaworthy vessel," the original petition states. "Great Lakes failed in those respects."

"The conduct of the defendants was in heedless and reckless disregard of the rights of the plaintiffs, and involved such an entire want of care as to establish that it was a result of conscious indifference to the rights, welfare, and safety of the plaintiffs and (Pedro) Perez."

Other businesses, such Georgia-Pacific Corp. and Union Carbide Corp., join Todd Pacific Shipyard and Great Lakes as co-defendants in the case.

They are accused of improperly manufacturing, marketing, transporting, and installing the asbestos.

Perez's estate, which is represented by Houston attorney Ian P. Cloud, seeks damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical and funeral expenses, and loss of companionship as well as a jury trial.

The litigation has been assigned to Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia.

Case No. 09CV0490

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