Louisiana Record

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Former Avondale Shipyard employee sues for silicosis diagnosis allegedly linked to asbestos exposure

By Louisiana Record reports | Jun 4, 2015

Air asbestos sticker

GRETNA – A decade-long employee of Avondale Shipyard is suing claiming he was negligently exposed to asbestos fibers which have led to illness later in life.

Claude Gordon Jr., and wife Willomease Gordon, filed suit against Huntington Ingalls Corporation, One Beacon America Insurance Company, Kemper Insurance Group, Employers Commercial Union Insurance Company, Commercial Union Insurance Company, Highlands Insurance Company and Travelers Insurance Company, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London as the insurers of Avondale and its executive officers, Mississippi Valley Silica Company, Eagle Inc.–formerly known as Eagle Asbestos & Packing Co., Reilly-Benton Company Inc., The McCarty Corporation, BTN Corporation (Seville), Ownes-Illinois Inc., Bayer Cropscience Inc., Commercial Union Insurance Company, The Travelers Casualty & Surety Company–formerly known as Aetna Casualty & Surety Company and Highlands Insurance Company–as the insurers of Jahncke Services Incorporated, The Travelers Casualty & Surety Company–formerly known as Gulf Insurance Company, Federal Insurance Company and National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–as the insurers of Mississippi Valley Silica Company Inc., Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company Inc., Mine Safety Applicants Company, Clemco Industries Corporation and E.D. Bullard Company in the 24th Judicial District Court on April 15.

Gordon asserts from 1963 to 1974 he was employed as a manual laborer performing duties including chipping, grinding, sandblasting and painting at the main Avondale Shipyard, the Harvey yard and aboard vessels, including Navy destroyers. The plaintiff claims that through his employment he was exposed to airborne asbestos fibers and dust particles that later caused him to contract pulmonary silicosis and hardening of the tissues of his lungs and diaphragm.

Gordon alleges that his exposure, and later illness, was due to the failure of his employer to put in place safe work practices to protect him from the harmful materials. The plaintiff claims he attempts to take protective measure himself by tying a handkerchief around his face while working. As a result of his continued exposure to silica had asbestos over his employment at Avondale, Gordon contends he has become ill and requires medical treatment as well as medical monitoring for potentially contracting asbestos-induced cancer.

The defendant is accused of failing to provide the plaintiff with respirators and other protective equipment, failing to have a respiratory program in place, failing to require the use of respiratory protective equipment, failing to warn of the hazard of inhaling asbestos fibers, failing to conduct adequate air monitoring, failing to isolate work activities involving silica and asbestos, negligence in leaving safety responsibilities to individual employees, not taking proper measures to protect the health and safety of employees and developing inadequate safety programs regarding the exposure to silica and asbestos particles.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for physical pain and suffering, mental pain and suffering, discomfort, medical expenses, economic losses and loss of enjoyment of life.

Gordon is represented by Helen H. Babin of the New Orleans-based Gertler Law Firm LLP.

The case has been assigned to Division B Judge Cornelius E. Regan.

Case no. 748-691.

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