Ohio woman's second-hand exposure blamed in Madison County asbestos suit

Steve Gonzalez Jan. 3, 2008, 6:41am

A West Chester, Ohio woman who suffers from mesothelioma filed an asbestos suit against 72 defendants in Madison County Circuit Court Dec. 27, alleging she was exposed to airborne asbestos fibers from her father's clothing.

Robin Seward claims her father was employed by Fox Paper in Lockland, Ohio and on many occasions would work with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing materials.

"Dust created by working with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing products would permeate the skin, hair and clothing of the plaintiff's father," the complaint states. "This dust contained large amounts of asbestos fiber."

Seward claims her father would carry the asbestos dust on his clothing home with him where it would again become airborne.

"The plaintiff would be repeatedly exposed to this asbestos dust from her father's skin, hair and clothing," the complaint states.

Seward was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2005, and subsequently became aware that 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, Seward claims she was exposed to fibers containing asbestos, and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which has disabled and disfigured her.

Seward also claims that she has sought, but has 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 that 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 Michael Bilbrey and James Stever of Edwardsville, Seward 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 Daniel Stack.

07 L 1086

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