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"It's Great That Mr. Brown Got a $322 Million Asbestos Drilling Mud Settlement, but Some of Us Still Have Nothing"

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Houma, LA"It's great that [Thomas C. Brown] got a $322 million settlement verdict in his asbestos lawsuit but it would also be great if companies like Union Carbide and Chevron Phillips Chemical could spread the money around," says Monty, who worked with asbestos drilling mud for years and is now suffering from respiratory problems. "They could at least pay for our asbestosis testing."

In May 2011, a jury awarded Mr. Brown from Mississippi $322 million: Brown claimed he inhaled asbestos dust while mixing drilling mud that was sold by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and manufactured by Union Carbide Corp. Brown has been diagnosed with asbestosis and is on oxygen 24/7, according to his lawyer. The lawsuit claimed that CP Chem and Union Carbide continued to market asbestos drilling mud despite knowing the dangers—for many years.

During the Brown trial, court documents showed the drilling mud additives packaging included a federally mandated warning that it contained asbestos fibers and breathing the fibers could cause serious injury. However, Brown couldn't read or write when he started working in the oil fields—he was 16 years old. Brown is now 48.

Monty's background and symptoms are similar to those of Brown. "I started working in the oil fields right after high school; we mixed barite [a heavy additive in oil-well drilling mud] and asbestos for Baroid Industrial Drilling Product, a subsidiary of Halliburton. I was the mud plant operator and I clearly remember that none of us wore masks."

Monty is now 54. A few years ago he started having respiratory problems. Recently he had an injury that required spinal surgery and if not for a CAT Scan and MRI that determined damage to his T6 and T7, Monty wouldn't have known about the spots on his lungs, which were found by the MRI and CAT Scan.

"I have no idea how long these spots would have gone undetected," says Monty, "and even now, nothing has been done about it. It's like the doctors down here in Louisiana are paid off by the oil companies so I want to see a doctor at a University hospital because there is a good chance that I have asbestosis—my voice is getting deeper and I sweat a lot more when I work out—I'm not getting enough oxygen.

"One day I was doing some research on the Internet because I've had pneumonia a lot in the past ten years (of course these spots could be from the pneumonia) and I thought there might be a link with the barite because I breathed that stuff for hours, every day.

"When you make mud you add barite and different chemicals to stabilize it, such as toxic soda to control the ph, and acid to bring down the ph, and asbestos was mixed into the barite for a number of years. I'll bet that a lot of the old hands, those guys who have been around a long time, all have some form of asbestosis. I know there have been settlements, and now this incredible $322 million verdict, but some of us have nothing.

"Right now I would like to find an attorney to pay for asbestosis testing—your lungs have to get scoped; they put you to sleep and take a biopsy; x-rays can't diagnose asbestosis. That's my first step…"

According to the Biloxi Sun Herald (July 15, 2011), The Mississippi Supreme Court halted all proceedings in Brown's asbestos case (that resulted in the $322 million verdict) until it determines whether the trial judge should have stepped down. A petition filed by Union Carbide was granted for a review regarding whether Circuit Judge Eddie Bowen should not have presided over the case. Judge Bowen failed to notify defense lawyers that his parents had settled a previous asbestos case against Union Carbide. Apparently, Union Carbide settled a lawsuit with the elder Bowens in lawsuits dating from 1989 and 1992.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Yes ,I Agree with you on receiving compensation,And for all related cases ,But they found a loop hole around it .If they just pay one Person that usually satifies the court system .Thats what i have found over the years .And it could be a racial thing two .Just too save those companys money .But its the Insurance rate, They dont want too pay after such Cases.They want too keep there insurance rates low.

Posted by

on
I could just cry...and I will after I read this story because I just learned that a settlement has been AWARDED for over 1000 people, sick, dying and dead of Libby Montana...the death town of America(like your Asbestos town..unreal)..that the lowest payout will be $500 bucks and $60,000 for Mesothelioma and wrongful death..yah, you can read that again..60 thou for murder is what life is worth in the State of Montana. As I see it and as Dr. Miller testified at the WR disGrace trial...EVERYONE in Libby Mt WILL die from asbestosis, if they live long enough and do not die from something else, first..the fact is that you are given a death sentence and rather you are just sick and dying...it is caused by the asbestos.AND, this asbestos IS the cause of many other forms of death and cancer.NOT just a lung disease...we know now. Out of this settlement comes 33% off the top..14 million. Leaveing 27 million to spilt between over 1200 sick, dying and dead...so when I see all these folks getting millions...and we ALL deserve millions...and what continues to happen to us...well, I guess I am justified in being very angry...worse part is I fired my lawyer a year ago and looks like I don't get a dime...my peace will be when I die...amen.

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