Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

Actor’s Widow Files Asbestos Lawsuit

May 1, 2014

Los Angeles, CA Among the long list of industries that one expects to see involved in an asbestos lawsuit, the television industry might not rank high. Generally, when it comes to asbestos claims, plaintiffs and their families tend to be involved in construction, oil and gas, or other heavy industries. But, a recently filed asbestos lawsuit alleges that even television actors are vulnerable to asbestos injury.

According to Fox News, the family of actor Ed Lauter has filed a lawsuit against CBS and General Electric (the company that at one point owned NBC) alleging that Lauter was exposed to asbestos while filming television shows for the networks. A claim was also reportedly filed against Ford Motor Co. alleging Lauter was exposed to asbestos through automobile parts.

Lauter was reportedly diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in May 2013. He died at age 74 fewer than six months later, in October. Mesothelioma is a rare, fatal cancer that has been linked to asbestos exposure. The latency period can last decades between the time of exposure and the time of diagnosis.

Lauter had worked in television and movies since 1971. Among his credits were roles in television shows such as Charlie’s Angels, Magnum P.I., and ER. He was also in films such as The Artist and Seabiscuit.

In 2011, the family of Merlin Olsen, a Hall of Fame football player and actor, settled a lawsuit with several companies they alleged were responsible for Olsen’s death. Olsen died of mesothelioma in March 2010 at age 69. Although details of the settlement were not released, it was reported that 10 companies that either manufactured or used asbestos products were included in the settlement.

Olsen’s family alleged it was his exposure to asbestos on construction sites as a youth that caused his mesothelioma.

Olsen was a member of the Los Angeles Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome” in the 1960s. He also worked as a broadcaster and an actor following his time in the NFL.

People who are exposed to asbestos without proper protection face a risk of developing mesothelioma, asbestosis and lung cancer, all diseases that currently have no cure. Lawsuits have been filed against companies that manufacture asbestos, companies that use asbestos products and employers who allegedly failed to properly warn their employees about the risks of asbestos or protect them from those risks.