Holland Phillips Sep. 16, 2013, 3:11pm

NEW ORLEANS – A former shipyard welder has filed an asbestos suit against Eagle Inc., Reilly-Benton Company Inc., Taylor-Seidenback Inc. and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Ora Ham claims that while working as an insulator and welder from approximately 1963-1979 at several shipyards and drilling companies in Louisiana and Texas he was exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

The defendants are accused of allowing dangerous asbestos fibers to escape from their custody, control, and guard by designing, evaluating, manufacturing, packaging, furnishing, storing, handling, transporting, installing, distributing, selling and/or supplying asbestos-containing products to Ham’s job sites.

The plaintiff alleges that the defendants are strictly liable for manufacturing and selling defective products and for systematic negligence by failing to properly test their products, warn against the dangers inherent in their use, provide proper instructional material and safety devices to reduce the dangers of those products especially when other similar, non-asbestos-containing products would have served as high heat insulation.

Furthermore, Ham alleges that the defendants “knew that their products would have to be cut, sawed, broken, sprayed, hammered into place and generally handled in such a manner as to created dust which when ingested or inhaled into the body would cause severe and disabling diseases.”

An undisclosed amount is sought for physical pain and suffering, mental pain and anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and medical expenses.

The companies named in the suit as job sites include Gulfport Shipyard, Wards Drilling Company, Livingston Shipyard, Texaco, Chevron, Mobil, Motiva, LeBlanc Welding, Lee Towing Company, Action Construction, H. B. Zachary, International Maintenance Company, Inland Marine and Diamond Offshore Drilling.

Ora Ham is represented by Damon R. Pourciau of Pourciau Law Firm.

The case has been assigned to District D Judge Lloyd J. Medley.

Case no. 2013-06490.

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