Family of Alabama woman who died from secondhand asbestos exposure awarded $3.5 million

9 Oct 2015 by under Legal, News

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Family of Alabama woman who died from secondhand asbestos exposure awarded $3.5 millionAn Alabama federal judge has awarded the family of a Florence, Ala., woman who died in 2013 from malignant pleural she contracted from secondhand exposure to $3.5 million.

The woman’s family alleged that Barbara Bobo inhaled deadly asbestos fibers over the course of 20 years as she laundered her husband’s clothes. Ms. Bobo’s husband, James Bobo, died in 1997 from asbestos-induced lung cancer after working at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Athens, Ala.

Mr. Bobo did clean-up work at the plant, which is owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), for two decades starting in 1975. During that time, the TVA installed asbestos insulation in the nuclear plant.

U.S. District judge Lynwood Smith of the Northern District of Alabama issued a judgement in favor of Melissa Ann Bobo and Shannon Jean Bobo Cox, Mr. and Mrs. Bobo’s daughters, last week. During trial, a lawyer for the Bobos produced evidence that Browns Ferry and TVA violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules designed to protect workers as well as their own safety policies.

“This didn’t have to happen,” the Bobo family’s lawyer told “If the TVA had simply followed the law and its own guidelines, these two people might still be alive.”

According to, Ms. Bobo had the lining in her affected lung removed in 2011 and underwent chemotherapy, which resulted in a significant pain and other adverse effects. Court documents state that she never entered the Browns Ferry plant, but she would shake out her husband’s work clothes in the laundry room at home, inadvertently sending asbestos dust into the air. She would also sweep the floors with a brush and dustpan, inhaling the airborne particles.

Though mesothelioma has traditionally been found in older men with backgrounds in factory work, shipyards, mines, or other environments with heavy asbestos exposure, more and more cases related to secondary exposure are being diagnosed. Each year, the cancer seems to affect younger people and a greater number of women. Mesothelioma is a dangerous disease, often in advanced stages by the time symptoms appear. The average survival rate of those diagnosed is one year.


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