Family claims companies failed to warn worker about deadly asbestos

30 Sep 2015 by under Legal, News

asbestos warning 100x100 Family claims companies failed to warn worker about deadly asbestos The family of a maintenance worker who died of years after being exposed to on the job urged a South Carolina jury Tuesday to find Celanese Corp. and John Crane Inc. liable for his death because they failed to provide a safe working environment and never warned him about the risks of asbestos exposure.

The family of Dennis Seay, who worked at medical material manufacturer Celanese Corp., alleges he frequently worked with and around gaskets made by John Crane Inc. for about a decade starting in 1971. The gaskets contained asbestos, a deadly fiber linked to lung diseases, mesothelioma, and other cancers.

“They had an opportunity to protect him, and they failed to protect him,” a lawyer for Mr. Seay’s family told jurors during opening arguments. “At the very time, decades before he set foot at Celanese, they already knew. Not only should they have known, but these companies had actual knowledge that asbestos caused disease and that it was killing people.”

The companies never warned Mr. Seay, the family claims, and so he wasn’t aware that he wasn’t able to take the proper precautions because he didn’t know about the dangers.

Mr. Seay died in December 2014 at the age of 70. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in August 2013. The family filed the lawsuit a month after the diagnosis.

According to Law360, the plaintiffs’ lawyer demonstrated mesothelioma’s aggressiveness by showing jurors a picture of Mr. Seay as a healthy looking man a year before his death. In contrast, two days before his death, his body was emaciated and his features sunken, Law360 reported.

Celanese and John Crane both deny responsibility for Mr. Seay’s asbestos exposure. Celanese argues that it had hired a construction contractor to perform work, and that Mr. Seay was employed by that contractor, who was responsible for warning and protecting Mr. Seay.

John Crane argues that the asbestos in its gaskets was covered by a layer of insulation and that he was exposed to asbestos from another source.

The family seeks up to $15 million in damages from the defendants.

Source: Law360

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