Gene Lepore’s asbestos story began in 1974, when he was hired as a civilian trainer at the Coast Guard base in Port Hueneme, according to SF Gate (2/9/16). During that time, Lepore’s duties involved regularly stopping at a vehicle repair shop to oversee the work of mechanics. It was at the vehicle repair shop that he was allegedly exposed to asbestos from vehicle brakes.
In 2010, Lepore died of mesothelioma, a fatal lung condition linked to asbestos exposure. Before he died, however, Lepore filed a lawsuit against Ford and other defendants, alleging his exposure to asbestos in their products resulted in his mesothelioma. In 2012, that lawsuit was dismissed, with the Superior Court Judge finding that the plaintiffs did not prove that Lepore was in the vicinity when Ford products, or the products of other defendants, were being repaired. But an appeals court recently disagreed with that finding and reinstated the lawsuit against Ford, Navistar and Kelsy-Hayes. The dismissal of the suit against Gibbs International was upheld.
Lawsuits were reportedly initially filed against more than 12 companies, with many of those already reaching settlements with Geraldine Lepore and her children.
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“Asbestos exposures as short in duration as a few days have caused mesothelioma in humans,” OSHA notes. “Every occupational exposure to asbestos can cause injury of disease; every occupational exposure to asbestos contributes to the risk of getting an asbestos related disease.”
Workers who have been exposed to asbestos as part of their job duties have filed lawsuits against their employers and the makers of products that contain asbestos, alleging they were not properly warned about the risks of asbestos and were not provided proper protection from asbestos exposure.