Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

Judge Refuses to Dismiss Asbestos Lawsuit

September 5, 2014

New York, NY Although many asbestos lawsuits are filed by employees who allege they were exposed to asbestos in the course of their work, some asbestos claims are known as “take-home asbestos exposure.” These asbestos mesothelioma cases allege that the person who developed the disease did not work with it, but was exposed to it by a loved one who brought asbestos fibers home on his or her clothing.

One such lawsuit was filed by a former bus driver, who alleged his wife was harmed by asbestos that he brought home on his clothing. According to Legal Newsline (8/19/14), Elizabeth and Fred Herman filed a lawsuit against Motion Control Industries, Inc. (named in the lawsuit as Carlisle Motion Control Industries, Inc.), alleging Elizabeth developed mesothelioma due to take-home asbestos exposure. Fred was allegedly exposed to the asbestos through his work with the New York City Transit Authority, especially during his early employment when he was present during mechanical work on bus brakes.

Elizabeth was reportedly exposed to the fibers while washing Fred’s work clothing and later diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The defendants requested summary judgment dismissing the lawsuit, arguing that there was no evidence to show Elizabeth was exposed to asbestos linked to the company’s brake linings. A judge, however, disagreed with the defendants and found that it was reasonable to conclude that both Fred and Elizabeth had been exposed to asbestos from the brake linings.

“The case turns on Mr. Nahas’ [a colleague’s] testimony that Carlisle brakes were present not just at some point during his five year tenure at the Ulmer Park Depot, but specifically during the nine-month period that overlapped with Mr. Herman’s employment there,” the judge wrote. As a result, the judge found a reasonable inference could be drawn that Fred and, in turn, Elizabeth, had been exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos lawsuits have been filed against hundreds of companies alleging employees and their loved ones were harmed by exposure to asbestos and were not properly warned about that exposure. Some lawsuits also allege employees were not provided proper protections or safety equipment to prevent or minimize asbestos exposure.

Asbestos has been linked to life-threatening illnesses, including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer.