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67 companies may have helped cause man's mesothelioma

A man and his wife have filed a lawsuit claiming that as many as 67 different companies may have contributed towards causing his development of mesothelioma through exposing him to toxic asbestos over his working lifetime. The man worked as an auto mechanic at one company, and also did construction work while employed by another company involved in building residences. The personal injury lawsuit also notes that he was, at times, a laborer or helper at a steel mill facility, and repaired and maintained equipment and trucks used by a timber company.

The medical diagnosis is clear--he has mesothelioma, which is a result of exposure to asbestos that is present in many workplace products and materials. The tiny fibers can be breathed in and get lodged in the lungs and breathing passages. The lawsuit says that it was exposure to asbestos dust in the workplace which caused him to develop the disease.

Employers often know that their workers are being exposed to asbestos yet neglect to take elementary precautions, such as providing personal protective gear, storage lockers to prevent asbestos dust from contaminating street clothing worn home, or other accommodations.

While the 67 defendants named in the lawsuit may seem like a lot, many such lawsuits are filed against multiple parties, each of whom may have played a role in causing an injury. Further, often widespread negligence by multiple employers or manufacturers can result in an injury or occupational disease, and suing multiple parties may also be necessary to make sure that at least some of them are held financially responsible for the serious damage caused by their actions.

Source: The West Virginia-Record, "Sutton couple names 67 defendants in asbestos case,' Kyla Asbury, Nov. 20, 2012

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