Georgia Supreme Court Rules That Patient Can Sue Asbestos Producer

The Georgia Supreme Court stated on November 30 that a lawsuit can proceed against the manufacturer of water pipes that contain asbestos.

A woman from Thomas County, Georgia is claiming that she got malignant mesothelioma from washing her father’s clothes, who worked in pipe manufacturing for the company for many years.

The supreme court in Georgia partially reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals; it found that the company was not liable for telling the woman that the clothes had asbestos dust on them. But it also noted that she did have a fair claim that was related to the design of the product.

About Mesothelioma Settlements

If you think that you contracted mesothelioma or a related disease due to the negligence of a third party, such as an employer, you are entitled to file a mesothelioma lawsuit to be compensated for your injuries, as well as pain and suffering.

This can happen in two ways. First, you can sue the company or companies and the case can go to trial. If the jury decides that the company or companies are liable, you can be awarded a cefasrtain sum that the jury deems appropriate.

The second is that the lawsuit is settled out of court. This is where your attorney and the attorneys for other company make an agreement for you to be compensated at a certain amount. Once you have signed the legal documents, the case is settled and can never be reopened.

A settlement is often the most common way that lawsuits are decided. The reason is that lawsuits are very expensive to see all the way through a trial. The injured party most likely has medical bills and needs compensation to live. The company involved may decide the best way to end the case is to pay a lesser amount now, rather than wait to see what the jury decides. In many cases, juries are sympathetic to plaintiffs who are suffering from mesothelioma. The verdicts can bring awards in the many millions of dollars.

Another reason the plaintiff may want to settle is that there is no guarantee that the jury will find in their favor.

Whether you should settle or not will depend upon many factors. In some cases, a mesothelioma suit is filed against several companies who all are alleged to have had a role in the plaintiff’s injuries. For example, a case could involve the person’s employer who used asbestos-containing products, and also the company that manufactured the products. If the companies did not provide sufficient warning, safety equipment and training for the safe handling of asbestos, both companies could be held liable.

A settlement can occur at any time after the lawsuit is filed. In a perfect situation for the plaintiff, a settlement is reached quickly, so that as little time and money has been spent on the case. There are many defendants who may not want to have their reputation damaged who could settle quickly.

On the other hand, some companies may feel that they have a stronger case to make and will not settle at all. Some firms may try to argue that the plaintiff was exposed to asbestos somewhere else.

The defendant will rarely offer a settlement from the start. What often happens is that more evidence is presented and the case starts to look bad for the company. At that time, it may decide to offer a settlement. A settlement can be offered and agreed to right up until the jury is about to render a verdict.

CertainTeed, based in Pennsylvania, manufactured and sold products that contained asbestos since 1930. In 1962, it started to make pipes that contained asbestos for water and sewer systems for cities and towns.

James Fletcher was a worker for the City of Thomasville Water and Light Department from 1948-63. In the 1970s, his main duties were to handle, cut, install and repair cement pipes for his employer.

As he cut and beveled the pipes, dust that contained asbestos landed on his clothes. At the end of the day, those clothes were worn home, and his daughter washed them.

Years later, she contracted mesothelioma, and she sued CertainTeed in Thomas County GA state Court. She claimed that she got the disease from the asbestos fibers that were on the clothes.

More courts are finding these days that companies can be held liable for second hand asbestos exposure, such as a person washing clothes from work that are covered in asbestos fibers.

Early this month, the California Supreme Court held that companies can indeed be held liable if the asbestos exposure at work results in someone in the worker’s family becoming sick.

Experts say that the risk to people in the home from asbestos is substantial, as the deadly substance can be brought into the house on clothes, shoes, skin and hair.