ITT Corp. faces allegations of fraudulent concealment in ongoing asbestos litigation

Michelle Keahey Apr. 10, 2012, 3:26am


NEW ORLEANS - Three Louisiana residents are accusing Goulds Pumps' successor, ITT Corp., of fraud and concealing material information in ongoing litigation in an effort to maximize profits.

Wilson David Thomas Jr., Mervin Taylor Sr. and Larry Hunt, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed suit against ITT Corp., individually and as successor to Goulds Pumps Inc. and Utica Mutual Insurance Co. on March 22 in federal court in New Orleans.

Thomas, Taylor, and Hunt claim that they were exposed to asbestos products at the Bogalusa Paper Mill in Bogalusa, La. Each of the plaintiffs are claiming they suffered personal injuries as a result of contracting asbestosis, silicosis, pneumoconiosis or other dust diseases.

Initially, the men filed a lawsuit against the defendants in Washington Parish District Court. However, during the discovery portion of that lawsuit, the plaintiffs allegedly discovered when the defendants had actual knowledge of the dangers associated with asbestos and other hazardous industrial dusts. The defendants are accused of fraudulently concealing this knowledge.

In Washington Parish District Court, the defendants are accused of failing to disclose their knowledge of the asbestos hazards and the plaintiffs state that they detrimentally relied on this information in evaluation and settling their claims.

In the federal lawsuit, the plaintiffs and the proposed class are asking the court for damages that were caused by the defendants' alleged interference with their legal rights and damages for fraud.

The defendants are accused of conspiracy, deceit, alteration of medical studies, fraud, and concealing material knowledge about when they first learned that industrial dust exposure was a hazard and potentially carcinogens.

Goulds Pumps and Utica Insurance are also accused of unjust enrichment.

The proposed class will include all individuals who have sustained damages or losses due to the fraudulent actions of defendants in the handling of personal injury claim settlement or who have a standing to assert a claim in this action.

On behalf of class members, Thomas, Taylor and Hunt are asking the Court for an award for damages, punitive damages, interest, court costs and attorney's fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Shawn C. Reed, Kyle T. Del Hierro, and Amy C. Yenari of Howard & Reed in Covington and D. Douglas Howard, Jr. and Jonathan C. Pedersen of Howard & Reed in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Helen G. Berrigan is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00774

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