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For decades, companies all across the country manufactured and sold products containing asbestos. While it has long been known that asbestos exposure can lead to serious and fatal illnesses, many of these companies kept this information under their hats. They did not warn consumers that a product contained asbestos, and if they did, they failed to appropriately warn them of the dangers associated with the toxic fiber.
Now decades later, people are being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis and other illnesses caused by asbestos all because of exposure they suffered 10, 20 or even 40 years ago. In many cases, these victims will take legal action against the makers of an asbestos-containing product. However, establishing the link between the victim and the product can be difficult without legal representation which is why many victims work with an attorney to pursue compensation.
Recently, a man diagnosed with mesothelioma did just that when he filed a lawsuit against the manufacturers of numerous products he used during his time as a carpenter. One company, Georgia Pacific, took the case to trial.
According to reports, the trial stems from the 69-year-old man’s use of a joint compound he used for years on the job. The compound reportedly contained asbestos and was made by Georgia Pacific, who has aggressively challenged the man’s memory of a product he used as far back as 1965.
Attorneys for the company have repeatedly attacked the man’s description of the joint compound, questioning why the man could not remember specifics about the compound packaging he used decades ago. This is a common tactic that companies use in the courtroom. The man could, however, remember that he purchased the product from Georgia Pacific stores and assumed the company had manufactured the product.
There have also been medical testimonies, questions of conflicts of interests and attempts to blame the asbestos exposure on other products. It will be interesting to see how this suit plays out.
The case is a fairly good representation of the lengths that some companies will go to in order to avoid taking responsibility for their role in making, distributing or selling a dangerous product. However, victims who work through this difficult process with an attorney can stand up to these companies and pursue the compensation they deserve.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Like herding turkeys’ — specialist’s take on gathering exposure history and ranges in asbestos trial,” Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Nov. 15, 2013
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