Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

New Asbestosis Disease Lawsuit Filed in California

March 25, 2014

Sacramento, CA Larry H. Speer was hit with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma this past December. Mesothelioma, which is a form of asbestosis disease, is a grievous condition triggered by exposure to asbestos fibers. There is no known cure. But Speer is wasting no time in an attempt to provide for his family and hold those entities allegedly responsible for his disease to account.

To that end, Speer has filed an asbestosis lawsuit against various defendants, including CBS Corp. and Ford Motor Co., together with several others, alleging that defendants allowed him to become exposed to dangerous asbestos without his knowledge. Speer also alleges, as do many plaintiffs in such cases, that defendants knew of the risks associated with asbestos but did nothing to prevent his exposure.

Asbestos played a major part in the industrial revolution, and was used extensively in various products - but primarily as insulation and lagging for pipes, due to its capacity to dissipate heat. Most industries, save for a few such as the manufacture of automotive brakes, have moved on from manufacturing with asbestos. However, even at the high point of asbestos use in the 1950s, there was knowledge available tagging asbestos as a dangerous substance. To that end, there are references that asbestos had been identified as a known or suspected carcinogen as far back as the early 1900s.

Speer, in his asbestosis claim, articulates that he was unaware of the risks while working around boilers, compressors, cement pipes, brakes and gaskets. According to court documents, “in their release of respirable asbestos fibers into the air during foreseeable use or manipulation of these products, the products failed to perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would have expected them to perform.”

With help from his asbestosis attorney, Speer is making claims of general negligence and strict liability over allegedly defective products. The plaintiff’s spouse, Donna Speer, is seeking compensation for loss of consortium with her husband. The amount of damages was not specified.

Many asbestosis victims are veterans

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (3/20/14) reports that veterans comprise a large percentage of individuals who are diagnosed with mesothelioma and asbestosis lung disease. The reason for this appears to be the long incubation period associated with asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos disease in general. The vast majority of asbestosis exposure patients do not fall ill soon after becoming exposed.

In fact, asbestosis pleural plaques and other symptoms usually do not emerge until several years and in many cases several decades following exposure. Pundits muse that part of the reason why employers using asbestos in various forms and for various industries failed to protect their workers lay in the fact that their workers didn’t fall ill right away.

As a result, many an asbestosis lawyer is tasked with tracing back a plaintiff’s work history to the point, as many as 25 or 30 years before, where asbestos exposure occurred.

According to information obtained by the Journal Sentinel, some studies have determined that up to 30 percent of Americans with asbestosis disease and/or mesothelioma are veterans exposed while on active duty. In particular, are veterans who served in the Navy. Ships and other sea-faring vessels often featured pipes and other components that were lagged with asbestos insulation.

The Speer asbestosis lawsuit also names, but is not limited to, defendants General Electric Co., Union Carbide Corp., Ingersoll-Rand Co., and Honeywell International Inc. The case is Larry H. Speer et al. v. CBS Corp. et al., Case No. RG 14715447, in the Superior Court for the state of California.