Widow blames airborne asbestos fibers for husband's death

Steve Gonzalez Dec. 7, 2006, 4:26pm

The widow of an Oregon man who died from mesothelioma in August filed an asbestos suit against 109 defendants in Madison County Circuit Court Dec. 1, alleging her late husband was exposed to airborne asbestos fibers from family members' clothing.

Connie Moore claims her late husband, Ronald Moore, was employed from 1961 to 1980 as an at various locations as a mechanic, laborer and bricklayer and his father was employed at Ford from 1942-1948.

Moore alleges that her father-in-law worked with and around asbestos-containing products.

"Dust created by working with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing products would permeate the person and clothing of the plaintiff's family members," the complaint states. "This dust contained asbestos fiber."

Moore claims her husband's family members would carry the asbestos dust on their clothing home with them where it would again become airborne.

"The plaintiff would be repeatedly exposed to this asbestos dust from her family member's person and clothing," the complaint states.

She claims Ronald also was exposed to asbestos during non-occupational work projects including home and automotive repairs, maintenance and remodeling.

Ronald was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May and subsequently became aware his illness was wrongfully caused, the suit claims.

The complaint alleges that defendants failed to require and advise their employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

As a result of the alleged negligence, Moore claims Ronald was exposed to fibers containing asbestos and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which disabled and disfigured him.

Moore also claims that she has sought, but been unable to obtain, full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading her to believe the defendants destroyed documents related to asbestos.

"It was foreseeable to a reasonable person/entity in the respective positions of defendants, that said documents and information constituted evidence, which was material to potential civil litigation-namely asbestos litigation," the complaint states.

She claims as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information she has been prejudiced and impaired in proving claims against all potential parties.

"Plaintiff has been caused to suffer damages in the form of impaired ability to recover against defendants and lost or reduced compensation from other potentially liable parties in this litigation,' the complaint states.

Represented by Nicholas Angelides, Perry Browder and John Barnerd of SimmonsCooper in East Alton, Moore is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $700,000, plus punitive damages.

"An award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish defendants for their willful, wanton, intentional and/or reckless misconduct and to deter defendants and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future."

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Dan Stack.

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