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Dow Asbestos Case to be Weighed by State High Court

In 1967, a contractor for Win-Way Industries Inc. had the job of installing asbestos-containing insulation on pipes. Just a few feet away from where the contractor was working, employees of Dow Chemical Co. were removing old pipe installation and installing new insulation. That contractor who was installing the insulation died of mesothelioma, and his family believes Dow Chemical Co. should be held responsible for his death.

The family sued Dow, as well as Alcoa Inc., Hercules In.c, and Crane Co. The family alleged Win-Way Industries was not responsible for the exposure, but that it was the Dow employees who caused their loved one to breathe in asbestos. law books.jpg

The jury in the initial case awarded the family a $2.64 million verdict against Dow, according to the Texas Record.

However, when the company appealed, the jury verdict was reversed and the appeals court found in Dow’s favor. The family seeks yet another reversal, and the Texas Supreme Court recently granted a motion to review. Oral arguments have been set for next month.

This case is just one of many examples of an asbestos plaintiff having difficulty recovering compensation after exposure caused loss. Victims need to get help from an experienced Boston mesothelioma lawyer to navigate the legal system and obtain the compensation they deserve.

Court Agrees to Consider Asbestos Case Appeal

Dow Chemical argued Chapter 95 of the Civil Practices of Remedies Code bars the claim against the company from proceeding. Chapter 95 protects a property owner from liability for personal injury, death or property damage to a contractor unless the property owner has actual knowledge of the danger and retains control over the work being done.

The pre-trial court found the plaintiff was injured by his employer’s activity’s on the Dow premises, and thus granted summary judgment in favor of Dow on this claim. However, the court denied summary judgment on Dow’s motion on other claims including allegations that the plaintiff was hurt by Dow employees.

The case then proceeded to trial before a jury in Dallas County. Dow was found to be 30 percent responsible for plaintiff’s injuries. Alcoa Inc., meanwhile, was deemed 70 percent responsible. A total of $2.64 million was awarded to the plaintiff.

Dow appealed, arguing pretrial court erred in its ruling on Chapter 95. Specifically, defendant asserts Chapter 95 doesn’t distinguish between a property owner’s liability for contractor activities versus its own employee’s activities. Dow alleged because there was no evidence the company had control over plaintiff’s work or knowledge of the danger, Chapter 95 should apply to all claims.

However, the plaintiff’s family alleges Dow employees spent 8 to 10 hours weekly tearing off insulation within five feet of the deceased, thus substantially contributing to the asbestos exposure. Chapter 95 thus should not apply, they argue. Further, even if it does apply, Dow had control over the work of its employee, which contributed to harming the deceased victim.

These are some of the issues that may be addressed in the rehearing of the case, which the Texas Supreme Court has granted.

If you are exposed to mesothelioma in Massachusetts, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

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