Woman claims mesothelioma after childhood exposure in West Bank

By Chelsea Partington | Aug 6, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A woman is suing companies she claims were engaged in the mining, manufacturing, selling, supplying, shipping, and distribution of asbestos and asbestos-containing products which allegedly resulted in her development of malignant mesothelioma.

Debrah A. Searcy filed suit against Asbestos Corporation Ltd., Taylor-Seidenbach Inc., Eagle Inc., Reilly-Benton Company Inc., McCarty Corporation, Burmaster Land and Development Company LLC, Owens Illinois Inc. and Uniroyal Inc. in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on June 24.

Searcy claims that she was exposed to injurious levels of asbestos in the 1950s and 1960s because asbestos fibers were brought into her Algiers childhood home by her father. Searcy's father, Morris Richard, was subject to occupational exposure to asbestos as a result of his work at the Johns-Manville Marrero facility on the West Bank in various capacities, the suit says.

Richard allegedly resided in Searcy's home during her childhood. The petition states that while Searcy's father was employed at the Johns-Manville facility, dangerously high levels of asbestos were present in the ambient air of the workspace, contaminating his clothes and consequently the family home, including Searcy herself.

The plaintiff further states that she has suffered environmental exposure to asbestos while residing on the West Bank since birth. Searcy claims to have lived at or near areas contaminated with asbestos-containing scrap material or plant operations.

Searcy was born in 1951 and her cumulative exposure to asbestos began as a child growing up on the West Bank, where asbestos waste was delivered to her neighborhood, the suit states.

Searcy alleges that she was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in April. She further alleges that the discovery of her condition is very recent, because the latency period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of malignant mesothelioma.

The suit states that the defendants knew or should have known of the health hazards underlying the asbestos-containing products they were selling and/or using, and that the defendants ignored or actively concealed such information in order to sell asbestos and/or asbestos containing products and avoid litigation from those harmed by asbestos inhalation.

The defendants are accused of strict liability and negligence, including the mining, manufacture, sale, supply, distribution and use of products that are unreasonably dangerous and possess inherent and known properties that have a high potential for causing serious injury.

The defendants are further accused of failing to provide sufficient warning of asbestos' hazards, failing to provide safety instructions, failing to truthfully and adequately report the results of product testing and medical studies, failure to recall asbestos products, failing to design products without asbestos when alternate substances were available and over-warranting the safety of asbestos products.

The plaintiff seeks an unknown amount in damages for medical costs and expenses, mental suffering, pain, and anguish, physical pain and suffering, disability and loss of quality of life.

Debrah A. Searcy is represented by Mickey P. Landry of Landry & Swarr LLC.

The case has been assigned to District J Judge Paula A. Brown.

Case no. 2014-06234.

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