Sep 26, 2007 - ASBESTOS TAKEN HOME FROM WORK CAUSES MESOTHELIOMA IN HOUSEWIVES
Asbestos lawyers are filing lawsuits against the employers of workers because of secondhand exposure to asbestos brought into the home on clothing. In a typical case, the worker is male and s exposed to asbestos at his workplace. The asbestos fibers cling to his work clothes which he brings home. His wife lauders the clothes and is exposed to asbestos by doing so. The wife develops mesothelioma as a result of this exposure.
If the worker developed mesothelioma due to his exposure at work, the worker himself would be barred from suing his employer because of workers compensation rules in most states. However, family members are not barred since they were not employees of the husband’s employer.
These asbestos lawsuits are getting mixed results in different states. A Washington state court of appeals recently ruled that families of workers who bring asbestos home on clothes may file suits against the employer. Rochon v. SaberHagen Holdings Inc., No. 58579-7-I (Wash. Ct. App.). A Louisiana appellate court upheld a trial verdict in which a wife died from mesothelioma after exposure from cleaning her husband’s work clothes. Chaisson v. Avondale Indus. Inc., 947 So. 2d 171, 183 (La. Ct. App.). The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a company can be liable for a wife's secondhand exposure to asbestos. The case involved a husband who was exposed to asbestos at work, and whose wife died of mesothelioma due to the washing his clothes. Olivo v. Owens-Illinois Inc., No.a-23-05 (N.J.).
On the other hand, the Michigan Supreme Court rejected a similar case against Ford Motor Co. The court held that Ford did not have a duty to protect a daughter from second hand asbestos exposure because Ford had no special relationship with the plaintiff. Miller v. Ford Motor Co., No. 131517 (Mich.). In California, a jury in October 2006 found that DaimlerChrysler Corp. had negligently exposed a woman to asbestos but wasn't responsible for her mesothelioma. The woman claimed she developed mesothelioma through asbestos exposure brought home by relatives who were as auto mechanics. Price v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., No. RG06254616 (Alameda Co., Calif., Super. Ct.).