25 defendants named in Jefferson Co. asbestos suit

Kelly Holleran Apr. 26, 2010, 6:30am

The administrator of a Texas man's estate has filed an asbestos suit against 25 defendant corporations, claiming the asbestos-related disease with which the man was diagnosed was wrongfully caused.

Michael Beard as personal representative of Claris J. Beard Jr.'s estate filed a second asbestos lawsuit in Jefferson County District Court on April 16. Claris J. Beard Jr. had already settled his claim for a non-malignant asbestos-related disease, but died of a different malignant disease, according to the complaint.

Michael Beard claims Claris J. Beard Jr. developed the disesase after working near asbestos-containing products during his work as an insulator, operator and laborer.

Michael Beard states the defendants failed to adequately test their products and failed to adequately warn Claris J. Beard Jr. of the dangers of asbestos.

In addition, the defending companies continued to manufacture and distribute the asbestos-containing products when they were aware of the dangers of the carcinogenic material, the suit states. They also failed to remove their products from the market, the complaint says.

The defendants failed to provide Claris J. Beard Jr. with adequate mask products and allowed Claris J. Beard to work around asbestos when they knew of its dangerous nature, Michael Beard claims.

In addition, the defending companies negligently failed to provide Claris J. Beard Jr. with a safe place to work, failed to provide adequate ventilation in the areas where Claris J. Beard Jr. worked, failed to utilitze safer products, ordered the installation and removal of asbestos products in an unreasonable manner, failed to place warning labels on asbestos products, failed to warn those who work around asbestos of its dangers, failed to instruct Claris J. Beard Jr. of the proper handling of asbestos, failed to adopt a safety plan in regards to adequate handling of asbestos, failed to use water to control the release of asbestos fibers in the air and failed to follow governmental regulations regarding worker exposure to asbestos, according to the complaint.

Before his death, Claris J. Beard Jr. experienced physical pain, suffering and mental anguish; incurred medical costs; and suffered physical impairment and disfigurement, the complaint says.

Because of Claris J. Beard Jr.'s death, Michael Beard incurred funeral and burial expenses, the suit states.

Manufacturer defendants in the complaint are A.O. Smith Corp., Ametek, Bayer Cropscience, Certainteed Corp., Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. and Union Carbide Corporation.

Equipment defendants include Babcock Borsig Power, CBS Corp., Cleaver Brooks, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., General Electric Corp., Goulds Pumps, Henry Vogt Machine Co., Ingersoll-Rand Co. and Zurn Industries.

Foster Wheeler Corporation is the sole contractor and equipment defendant while Crane Company is the only manufacturer and equipment defendant and Treco Construction Services is the only contractor defendant. Anco Insulation is the sole distributor defendant.

Premises defendants include Chevron U.S.A., Citgo Petroleum Corp., Conoco Phillips Co., E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., Entergy Gulf States and Oxy U.S.A.

In the lawsuit, Michael Beard is seeking actual and exemplary damages, plus costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief to which he may be entitled.

He will be represented by Bryan O. Blevins Jr. and Aaryn K. Giblin of Provost and Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E186-572.

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