Woman files suit over deceased husband's asbestos exposure

By Kelly Holleran | Jan 19, 2010

Tina Bradley

A Henderson County woman has filed an asbestos suit against eight defendant corporations, claiming the lung cancer with which her deceased husband was diagnosed was wrongfully caused.

Katherine Brashers claims her husband, Michael B. Brashers, was diagnosed with the disease in April 2008 and died of it on April 27, 2008, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 11 in Jefferson County District Court.

Katherine Brashers says Michael Brashers worked from 1963 through 1998 for Union Oil Company of California located in Jefferson County.

Katherine Brashers alleges her husband's disease was caused because he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers while at work. Michael Brashers did not know of the hazards of asbestos exposure, according to the complaint.

Defending companies named in the complaint include Able Supply, Ametek, Champlain Cable Corp., Guardline, Hercules Inc., Jett Weld Inc., Union Oil Company of California and Westinghouse Electric Co.

Katherine Brashers states the defendants failed to adequately warn Michael Brashers of the serious health hazards related to asbestos exposure and failed to provide Michael Brashers of what would be considered adequate and safe working apparel.

In addition, the defending companies failed to provide adequate warnings to Michael Brashers, failed to take reasonable precaution to enforce a safety plan, failed to develop a substitute material to eliminate asbestos exposure in the workplace and failed to market asbestos products that were safe to use, according to the complaint.

The defendants negligently failed to test their products before they were released into the stream of commerce; failed to provide Michael Brashers with a safe workplace; included asbestos in their products when they could have substituted other, safer materials and when they could have reasonably foreseen that Michael Brashers and his coworkers would inhale the asbestos fibers; and failed to recall the asbestos materials, the suit states.

Before his death, Michael Brashers experienced physical pain, suffering and mental anguish; incurred medical costs; and suffered physical impairment and disfigurement, the complaint says.

Because of her husband's death, Katherine Brashers lost his care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel and reasonable contributions; lost his companionship and society; lost his consortium; suffered mental anguish; lost his present value; and incurred funeral and burial expenses, the suit states.

In the lawsuit, Katherine Brashers is seeking general, special, punitive and exemplary damages, plus costs, interest and other relief to which she may be entitled.

She will be represented by Tina H. Bradley of Hobson and Bradley in Beaumont and by Paul D. Henderson of Jefferson.

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

Jefferson County District Court case number: E185-681.

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