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Court Sides with Mesothelioma Victim's Family in Second-Hand Asbestos Case

The daughters of an Alabama woman who died of malignant mesothelioma have prevailed in an appeal filed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The case, which was heard and decided by the United States Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit, involved Barbara Bobo, who spent 22 years washing her husband’s asbestos-contaminated work clothing.

According to testimony provided in the original case, Barbara’s husband James had worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority for over 22 years, util he was diagnosed with asbestos-induced lung cancer and died of a heart attack in 1997. Fourteen years later Barbara was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. She spent two years in treatment for the disease, undergoing thoracentesis to remove fluid from her chest, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, a pleurectomy, and multiple painful and uncomfortable side effects both from the condition itself and the treatment. In 2013 she died.

Before her death from malignant mesothelioma, Mr. Bobo had filed a lawsuit against TVA, which was taken over by her daughters after she died. There was a three-day trial and the family was awarded $3 million for pain and suffering, plus medical expenses. The TVA filed an appeal of the judgment based on a few different challenges: they stated that the court made errors regarding the evidence used, as well as that the court should to have relied on the specific expert testimony offered to support the finding that asbestos was the cause of Mrs. Bobo’s mesothelioma.

In his review of the appeal, Chief Judge Ed Carnes countered almost all of TVA’s attorneys arguments. He ruled that Mr. Bobo had more likely than not been exposed to asbestos at his job site, that the expert testimony provided by Mrs. Bobo’s attorney was reliable, that TVA had a duty to avoid exposing Mrs. Bobo to take home asbestos and that they had failed in that duty. The court also ruled that TVA had no discretion with reference to their own mandatory regulations and policies regarding asbestos exposure, and that they had failed to comply with their own rules.

Mrs. Bobo suffered a great deal in the course of her treatment for mesothelioma, and the court ruled that the award that the  jury granted was appropriate in light of her pain and her family’s loss. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you need information about your rights or other resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.


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