Appeals court rules five-day asbestos exposure could have caused asbestosis

30 Dec 2014 by under Legal, News

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Appeals court rules five day asbestos exposure could have caused asbestosisLouisiana’s Fourth District Court of Appeals determined there was sufficient evidence to support Plaintiff Edward Alberes’ allegation that he contracted as a result of occupational exposure to asbestos. The ruling was announced Dec. 10 by Judge Terri F. Love, with Judges Edwin A. Lombard and Roland L. Belsome concurring.

The lawsuit filed by Edward and Anna Alberes alleges Edward was exposed to asbestos while employed as a pipefitter for Goodrich in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The job required him to install and remove gaskets containing asbestos, which the suit alleges were manufactured by Garlock Sealing Technologies. In addition, Mr. Alberes says he was responsible for cleaning up asbestos-containing insulation that was left over at the end of the workday.

According to the complaint, this exposure resulted in Mr. Alberes developing asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs. There is a long latency period between asbestos exposure and the development of diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer caused by the inhalation or ingestion of microscopic asbestos fibers.

Several doctors testified during the litigation, including Dr. Robert Jones who, although testifying on behalf of the Defendant Goodrich, confirmed asbestos exposure is cumulative and may contribute to resulting disease.

Goodrich won a summary judgment in the Civil District Court of on the argument that Mr. Alberes’ work at its Plaquemine facility constituted only a very small portion of the time he worked as a pipefitter and in other similar positions from 1953 to 2006. However, Judge Love determined the Plaintiffs provided enough evidence to support the idea that Mr. Alberes’ exposure at Goodrich’s Louisiana facility was substantial enough to be a contributing factor to his illness.

Love noted in the opinion of the appeals court “the substantial contributing factor test in asbestos-related cases focuses on the quality of exposure verses the duration of exposure.” Therefore, she noted, the granting of summary judgment was in error, and the appeals court reversed the trial court ruling. The matter will be remanded for further proceedings.

Source: Legal Newsline

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