Motions heard in asbestos case in Orleans Parish

Alejandro de los Rios Aug. 24, 2010, 3:00am


Judge Sidney Cates IV heard motions from four defendants on Friday in an asbestos case in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Defendants Anco Inc., Cajun Company, Reilly Power Inc. and Okonite Co. – along with 35 other companies – are being sued for allegedly manufacturing products containing asbestos which infected workers and their families.

Cates denied Cajun's motion of exception for vagueness and ruled consent judgment on similar motions by Anco, Okonite and Reilly.

Anco and Reilly also filed motions for exceptions for the allegations of pre-death consortium, noting that the Louisiana statute on pre-death consortium was not passed into law until 1982. The plaintiffs did not oppose these motions.

New Orleans attorney David Canella, of the firm Landry & Swarr, filed the original petition for damages on March 4, 2010 on behalf of St. Tammany Parish residents Ray and Nadyne Lavigne. Nadyne Lavigne allegedly contracted mesothelioma from asbestos fibers brought home on the clothes of her husband, electrician Ray Lavigne, and father, brick mason Aldwin LaMoche's.

ExxonMobile, General Electric, Shell Oil and Entergy Services are among the other defendants named in the suit.

It also alleges unspecified defendants committed fraud and conspiracy to hide the asbestos content of their manufactured goods.

Anco, Cajun, Reilly and Okonite were not originally named as defendants, but were added in the plaintiff's first supplemental and amending petition for damages filed on April 21.

In an opposition to the four defendant's motions, plaintiff counsel wrote the exceptions for vagueness on the allegations of fraud and conspiracy are moot because the plaintiffs are not alleging that Anco, Cajun, Reilly and Okonite committed fraud or conspiracy. The amended petition on file does not specify which companies are being accused of fraud.

Cajun and Anco filed motions for exception of vagueness and no cause of action on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to specify what materials Ray Lavigne and LaMoche handled at what time and where that caused asbestos fibers to stick to their clothing and travel home to infect Nadyne Lavigne.

Anco also asserted in its response that Nadyne Lavigne's health problems are a result of her being a voluntary smoker for most of her life.

The plaintiffs' opposition to the defenses' motion claims that the "defendants are not entitled to ... the exactitude of pleading."

It also claims that, because the four defendants have been named defendants in other asbestos suits, that "it is absurd for the Defendants to assert that they don't have enough information to begin to generally prepare its defense for this case."

New Orleans attorney Jennifer Adams is representing Reilly Power.

New Orleans attorney James Garner is representing Okonite.

New Orleans attorney Margaret Joffe is representing Anco.

New Orleans attorney Melissa Theriot is representing Cajun.

Plaintiff counsel filed motions to dismiss defendants Bondex International Inc. and Southmire Company on June 14 and 28, respectively.

Orleans Parish Case 2010-01744.

More News