BELLEVILLE – A man who spent his working life as a laborer is suing over his alleged exposure to asbestos.
Warren Latshaw filed the suit on Jan. 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against American Honda Motor Co., Borg-Warner Morse, Eaton Corporation, Goulds Pumps LLC, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. and Union Carbide, among other listed defendants. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. is singled out as a defendant.
From 1966 to now, the plaintiff worked various jobs, from tank commander for the U.S. Marines to concrete laborer to car assembler to mechanic. At various times, the lawsuit alleges, the plaintiff was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed large amounts of asbestos fibers emanating from products he was working with. He also was allegedly exposed to asbestos-containing products through his father, who also worked as a mechanic.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with lung cancer on July 10, 2015. The lawsuit alleges he became ill due to the negligent and willful and wanton acts by the defendants. Among the allegations in the suit are that the companies: included asbestos in their products, failed to provide any instructions concerning safe methods of working with and around those products and failed to conduct tests on those products to determine the hazards to which workers were exposed.
The count against Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. is for alleged conspiracy. According to the complaint, the life insurance company was among a group of companies that conducted research about the health risks of asbestos. The suit claims the results of the study were altered and Metropolitan Life knew it. Further, the defendant allegedly tried to discredit scientists working on the study and also actively suppressed publication about the dangers of asbestos, the suit claims.
In addition to becoming sick, the plaintiff alleges he is now liable for large medical care costs and he has been hindered from pursuing his normal course of work.
The plaintiff seeks compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages in an amount in excess of $50,000 from each defendant. He is represented by Randy L. Gori of Gori, Julian & Associates PC in Edwardsville.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-42