Multiple defendants named in secondary asbestos exposure suit

Catherine Melancon Oct. 31, 2012, 2:50am

Barrett D. Burkart, Jr.

BATON ROUGE – A Baton Rouge woman, a West Baton Rouge man and an Anderson County, Ky. man have filed suit claiming their mother was exposed to asbestos after washing her sons and husband's work clothes.

Karen Ann Soileau Bergaux, Glen Soileau and Terry Soileau filed suit against Automotive Distributors, Inc., individually and as successor to 688 Parts Service, Inc., Nissan North America, Inc., Damiler Chrysler Corporation, Honeywell International, Inc., Dana Corporation, Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC, individually and a successor to Garlock, Inc., Avery Imports, Inc., Billy Avery, Anco Insulations, Inc., The McCarty Corporation, Gulf States Utilities Company, The Dow Chemical Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, individually and as successor to Exxon Corporation and Foster Wheeler Corporation in the 19th Judicial Court on Oct. 16.

The plaintiffs are children of Bertha G. Soileau, who contracted and died from mesothelioma.

They claim their mother's disease was caused by her exposure to asbestos fibers that she inhaled while washing her husband's (Elmo Soileau) and sons' (Danny and Jerry Soileau) work clothing.

Jerry was an employee of Avery Imports, Inc., one of the defendants from 1973 to 1976. From 1979 to 1981, he worked at Royal Nissan.

While he worked in Baton Rouge at these two companies, the plaintiffs allege he lived with his mother, and she was responsible for washing his clothing. Jerry was a parts clerk, maintenance man and mechanic and the Soileaus claim he was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis when he performed mechanical repairs and renovations to engine and brakes systems. They claim he wore no protective clothing, gloves or masks, and asbestos fibers were released from brakes, gaskets and other products.

The asbestos products Jerry was exposed to allegedly came from Honeywell, Chrysler and Nissan North America, Inc., Dana Corporation and Garlock.

Jerry was diagnosed with asbestos related malignant pleural mesothelioma on Nov. 29, 2001 and died from the disease on Feb. 7, 2002.

Bertha's son, Danny, was employed as an instrument technician/test technician with Osborne and Associates Engineering Services at Gulf States Utilities Company in St. Gabriel from 1976 to 1978.

From 1979 to 1986, he was employed at Dow Chemical Company in Plaquemines. While employed at both places, the plaintiffs assert Danny was exposed to asbestos products with instrument installation in and around insulators, boilermakers and welders who were mixing, cutting, sawing, applying and removing of asbestos products. They claim asbestos fibers were released from heat insulation and boilers which contained asbestos insulation, boiler insulation, insulation pads, boiler legging, boiler jackets and other asbestos insulation on the ventilation and pipe systems manufactured, sold, marketed or provided by the defendants.

Danny was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in February of 1999, and he died from the disease on June 3, 1999.

Bertha's husband, Elmo, worked as a PBX installer with South Central Bell at Exxon Chemical Plant in Baton Rouge. Elmo was allegedly exposed to asbestos when he cut through walls and ceilings containing asbestos products.

On Dec. 10, 2002, Bertha was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and she died on Oct. 17, 2011.

The employer defendants are accused of foregoing acts of negligence, failing to reveal and knowingly concealing critical medical information from Jerry, Danny and Berth, failing to reveal and knowingly concealing the inherent dangers in the use of asbestos, failing to provide necessary protection to Jerry and Danny, failing to provide clean air and proper ventilation, failing to provide necessary showers and special clothing and failing to warn individuals working on their premises, including independent contractors, employees and family members of the risks associated with direct and bystander exposure to asbestos.

The manufacturer defendants are accused of knowing that their products were defective and that such products were not suitable for the purposes for which they were intended, not testing their products to ascertain the safe or dangerous nature of such products before offering them for sale, failing to remove such products from the market once deemed unsafe and would cause asbestos related diseases, failing to devise a method of application for its products that would have kept those using such products from contracting asbestos related diseases, negligent failure to warn, strict products liability and unreasonably dangerous due to defective design.

The supplier defendants are accused of knowing the defects of the asbestos products and failing to warn the users and their families of potential health hazards.

The premises defendants are accused of knowing the dangerous condition presented by exposure to asbestos and other toxic substance and failing and/or willfully withheld from the Soileaus knowledge of the dangers, failing to provide necessary protection to Elmo and Danny, failing to provide proper ventilation, failing to provide necessary showers and special clothing and failing to warn contractors of asbestos-related dangers.

The boiler defendant is accused of failing to warn it was producing a product, which component part is asbestos insulation, and failing to place adequate warnings on the product to advise foreseeable users against the dangers of exposure.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for loss of love and affection, loss of nurture and guidance, wrongful death of Bertha Soileau, loss of consortium, loss of support and loss of society.

The plaintiffs are represented by Barrett D. Burkart, Jr. of the Unglesby Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to Division F Judge Timothy Kelley.

Case no. 616246.

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Organizations in this Story

Dow Chemical
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674

Exxon Mobil
5959 Las Colinas Blvd
Irving, TX 75039

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