North Carolina families seek to combine mesothelioma lawsuits

Two North Carolina families whose loved ones either died or suffer from asbestos-related mesothelioma have asked a U.S. federal court to consolidate their individual cases in seeking damages from companies that include Dow Chemical, 3M and General Electric. Several other companies also are defendants.

The families – whose husbands worked for decades at a chemical plant in Kinston, N.C. – contend that their cases are similar enough to tried together in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The latest development in the case surfaced on March 8.

Both men worked at Dupont plant at the same time

The families of Augustus Adams and the late Clarence Greene contend that federal court should consolidate the cases. Both men worked at the same Dupont Chemical plant in Kingson, North Carolina, and during the same period for three decades through the 1980s. (Dupont sold that business to a China-based company in 2022, and it is now known as Covation Biomaterials.)

Greene died in 2019, while Adams continues to live with mesothelioma. The families contend that decades of asbestos exposure at the Dupont plan led to each of their diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Many occupations susceptible

Mesothelioma is a rare and almost always fatal cancer caused by the exposure to asbestos. The disease usually attacks the lungs and stomach lining. Each year, physicians diagnose about 3,000 Americans with mesothelioma.

Inhalation of the dust or fine fibers of asbestos can lead to the disease. Firefighters, construction workers, industrial workers, power plant workers and shipyard workers represent the occupations more susceptible to mesothelioma.

It takes several decades after initial asbestos exposure before a person comes down with mesothelioma. More than half of the people die within the first year of diagnosis. Roughly 7% live for at least five years.

Duty to protect workers

Employers, including global giants such as Dupont, cannot shirk their responsibilities in protecting the workers who helped build their companies. Mesothelioma victims and their families continue to suffer due to corporate inaction.