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Mammoth Asbestos Trial Scheduled This Month in Kentucky

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Owensboro, KYAn asbestosis lawsuit brought by plaintiff Doris White and scheduled to go to trial this month underwent some changes in December of last year, although the case was preserved.

The circumstances of the case, while not unique, are nonetheless a little different from the everyday fodder of the legal blotter. White, the plaintiff who suffers from an asbestos disease, was married at one time to Ronald Eades, an asbestos worker who spent much of his career as a union insulator at Triangle Insulation and Sheet Metal Co. Eades, according to court documents, would habitually wear his work clothes home. White would shake them out prior to laundering the clothing.

White, who was married to Eades in the 1960s and 1970s before their divorce in 1985, inhaled asbestos dust her husband brought home on his work uniforms, or so it is alleged. Eades himself suffered from asbestosis disease, whereas White was diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma, a similar form of asbestos cancer.

Asbestosis and related asbestos diseases are almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, and are usually fatal. The aftereffects of such exposure can incubate and languish in the body for years and sometimes decades without the individual even being aware, before suddenly emerging without warning.

It is not known if Eades is still living.

According to the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro, Kentucky (12/24/15), White has previously reached settlement agreements with some of the plaintiffs in her asbestosis claim, including Big Rivers, Domtar, Goodrich and Hoosier Energy.

Other plaintiffs in the asbestosis compensation lawsuit include General Electric, Goodyear, Indianapolis Light and Power, York International Corp. and Alcoa amongst other plaintiffs, together with Triangle Sheet Metal Co. Nine remaining defendants in total made a bid in December of last year to seek dismissal from the lawsuit based partially on an argument that there could not be a unified defense in the lawsuit.

However, it has been reported that the trial judge dismissed most of their arguments.

It’s a complicated asbestosis lawsuit, in that White is litigating against Eades’s employer - Triangle - as well as a host of companies that supplied materials allegedly containing asbestos to Triangle. Some of the defendants that acted as suppliers argued that Triangle had the duty to protect Eades as their employee, and thus to protect White by extension.

Most of the defendants argue that White was never a direct employee, never having set foot in, or on, their premises.

According to the Messenger-Inquirer (9/18/15) in a report published in September of last year, Daviess County Circuit Court Judge Joe Castlen had characterized arguments and positions taken by the defendants as subterfuge, based on the undue delay it might cause.

“‘Subterfuge’ can be defined in various ways,” Castlen said, according to the report. “One of which is the real purpose of these motions is not to develop evidence from these people, because that can already be done, but to delay the trial that’s scheduled for February.

“We’ve got a lady that’s dying.”

Case information was not available.

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