Wife Caused Husband’s Asbestos Disease, Suit Says

In a scenario not often staged in the courtroom, the family of a deceased man is suing 73 corporations, alleging that he died of an asbestos-related disease after being exposed to the mineral dust from the clothes of his wife, who worked in the asbestos industry. Similar secondhand asbestos cases generally center on the wife as plaintiff, usually sickened from exposure to her husband’s asbestos-covered clothes.

According to the complaint, Paul Bowen of Ohio, was employed from 1951 to 2004 as a laborer, truck driver, kiln operator, miner and mechanic at various locations. However, Bowen’s wife was employed as a machine operator, maintenance worker, finisher and striper at various locations, including in jobs that involved direct exposure to asbestos.

”Dust created by working with and around asbestos and asbestos-containing products would permeate the person and clothing of the decedent’s wife,” the complaint states.

Bowen was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma last October and died a little more than two months later. According to an article in the Madison-St. Clair Record, the suit names 73 defendants that include Bondex International, CBS, ConocoPhillips, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Goodyear, John Crane, Owens-Illinois, Pharmacia, Shell Chemical and Yarway Corp.

The estate 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.”

Bowen’s estate also 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.”

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