Arizona man claims asbestos exposure from grandfather's clothing

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 25, 2008, 6:50am

An Arizona man suffering from mesothelioma filed suit against 59 defendant corporations alleging their negligence led to the development of his fatal disease.

Jesus Manriquez claims that during the course of his employment and during home and automotive repairs he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers emanating from certain products he was working with and around.

He also claims that he was exposed to asbestos dust that his grandfather would carry home on his clothes while working as a laborer at Kennecott Copper from 1930 to 1947.

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

Manriquez claims his grandfather would carry the asbestos dust on his clothing home with her where it would again become airborne.

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

According to the complaint filed June 20, Manriquez was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Feb. 22.

Manriquez is represented by John Barnerd and Randy Cohn of SimmonsCooper in East Alton.

Manriquez was employed from 1959 through 1993 as a laborer and heavy equipment operator at various locations throughout Arizona and Illinois.

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

"The plaintiff's exposure and inhalation, ingestion or absorption of the asbestos fibers was completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated by the defendants," the complaint states.

Manriquez claims the defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people.

Manriquez alleges that the defendants included asbestos in their products even when adequate substitutes were available and failed to provide any or adequate instructions concerning the safe methods of working with and around asbestos.

He also claims that the defendants failed to require and advise employees of hygiene practices designed to reduce or prevent carrying asbestos fibers home.

As a result of the alleged negligence, Manriquez claims he was exposed to fibers containing asbestos and developed a disease caused only by asbestos which has disabled and disfigured him, the complaint states.

Manriquez also claims that he has sought, but has been unable to obtain, full disclosure of relevant documents and information from the defendants leading him 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.

He claims that as a result of each defendant breaching its duty to preserve material evidence by destroying documents and information he 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.

He seeks damages to help pay for the cost of his treatment.

Manriquez also suffers "great physical pain and mental anguish, and also will be hindered and prevented from pursuing her normal course of employment, thereby losing large sums of money," the complaint states.

He is seeking at least $350,000 in damages for negligence, willful and wanton acts, conspiracy, and negligent spoliation of evidence among other allegations.

"In addition to compensatory damages, an award of punitive damages is appropriate and necessary in order to punish the defendants for willful, wanton, intentional and reckless misconduct and to deter them and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future," the complaint states.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Court Judge Daniel Stack.

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