Woman’s Asbestos-related Lung Cancer Blamed on Second-Hand Exposure

Published on September 23, 2022

A lawsuit making its way through the Louisiana court system is profiling how mesothelioma and other deadly diseases can afflict people who have never personally worked with asbestos. Joyce Allen died of asbestos-related lung cancer that is being blamed on asbestos carried into her home on her husband Odell’s work clothes. Though the companies named as defendants in her family’s claim asked for the case against them to be dismissed, two separate courts have agreed that only a jury can decide the facts of the case.

Longshoreman and His Wife Both Suffered Asbestos-Related Diseases

Joyce Allen died of asbestos-related lung cancer at the age of 67, but she was not the only family member who has suffered from an asbestos-related disease. Her husband Odell, who worked for decades as a freight handler and longshoreman, had been diagnosed with asbestosis years earlier. The family filed a wrongful death and survival action against several companies that were insurers for Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., Inc., one of the companies for whom Mr. Allen had worked.

Testimony submitted in support of the asbestos lawsuit exposes the significant risk of second hand asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases. Mr. Odell worked on the New Orleans Riverfront from 1968 until 1983, handling asbestos sacks and cargo. When the sacks tore open he would sweep up the dust and put it in an extra bag. He left work so covered with asbestos dust each day that he kept a sheet on his truck seat. His wife would have him take off his clothes at the door and wash them and the truck sheet regularly.

Asbestos Insurers Argue Against Liability for Death

Though the companies named in the asbestos lawsuit questioned whether the asbestos that caused Mrs. Allen’s death came from his work for Lykes Bros. as well as whether it actually caused her illness, expert witnesses claimed that the asbestos on Mr. Allen’s clothing would have posed a double risk: Mrs. Allen was exposed to asbestos on the clothes as she laundered them, as well as from the contamination of her home that would have persisted for years.

The Court of Appeal of Louisiana confirmed a decision that had already been made by a lower court and denied their motion for summary judgment. They indicated that all of the questions in the asbestos lawsuit need to be heard and determined by a jury.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Companies Named in Asbestos Case Ask to Have Case Dismissed

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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