Port Arthur couple sues 30 companies claiming man exposed to asbestos at work

Kelly Holleran May 13, 2010, 7:10am

A Port Arthur man and his wife claim the man developed an asbestos-related lung disease after he became exposed to asbestos fibers throughout his career at Sembcorp-Sabine Industries.

Floyd D. Gladden Jr. and his wife, Rebecca E. Gladden, filed a lawsuit May 3 in Jefferson County District Court against 30 defendant corporations. The Gladdens claim the companies created hazardous and deadly working conditions for Floyd D. Gladden Jr. by exposing him to large amounts of asbestos fibers.

When he worked near the machines containing asbestos, Floyd Gladden remained unaware of their dangerous propensities, according to the complaint.

As a result of his asbestos exposure, Floyd Gladden developed an asbestos-related lung disease; experienced physical pain, suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment and disfigurement; incurred medical costs; and lost earnings, the suit states.

Rebecca E. Gladden lost her husband's care, maintenance, services, support, advice, counsel and consortium, the complaint says.

The Gladdens blame the manufacturing and equipment defendant companies for a number of negligent acts, including their failure to warn Floyd Gladeen of the machinery's dangerous propensities, their failure to provide him with sufficient information as to what would be appropriate apparel to wear around equipment, their failure to place warnings on asbestos-containing products, their failure to publish a safety plan for the safe handling of asbestos-containing products and their failure to develop a substitute material to use instead of asbestos.

The couple says the premises defendants negligently failed to provide safe equipment for workers to use, failed to provide adequate safety measures against the asbestos dust despite their knowledge of its dangerous propensities, failed to adequately warn Floyd D. Gladden Jr. of the dangers of asbestos fibers, failed to maintain safe environmental conditions on their premises and failed to follow and adhere to various state and federal statutes.

The Gladdens also lay some of the blame on employer defendants, which they allege negligently failed to provide safe equipment for Floyd Gladden to use, failed to provide adequate safety measures against the asbestos dust, failed to adequately warn him of the dangers of asbestos fiber and failed to maintain safe environmental conditions on their premises.

Defendant companies that shipped the asbestos fibers to various locations owned by asbestos product manufacturers misrepresented the safety of asbestos, the suit states.

All the defendants deprived Floyd D. Gladden Jr. of his right to make a choice as to whether he wanted to be exposed to such a deadly product, the complaint says.

Manufacturing and equipment defendants named in the suit include Cleaver Brooks, Crane, Enpro Industries, Foster Wheeler Energy Corp., Foster Wheeler, Garlock, Garlock Sealing Technologies, Guard-line, Ingersoll-Rand Co., Riley Power formerly known as Riley Stoker Corp. and Yarway Corp.

Premises defendants include Atlantic Richfield Co., Goodrich Corp. doing business as BF Goodrich, BP Products North America, Bridgestone Americas, Chevron, E.I. Dupont De Numours and Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Koppers Holdings, Meadwestvaco Corp., Olin Corporation, Sinclair Oil Corp., Sunoco, Temple-Inland, Texaco, Total Petrochemicals and Wyeth Holdings Corp.

Employer defendants include Sembcorp-Sabine Industries while supplier defendants include Union Carbide Corp.

In their complaint, the Gladdens seek punitive, exemplary and general damages, plus costs, interest and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Paul D. Henderson of Orange and Carrie Waters, Kyla Cole and Peter A. Kraus of Waters and Kraus in Dallas will be representing the plaintiffs.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: E186-773.

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