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Family’s Long Mesothelioma Battle Against Oil Company Finally Ends

Mesothelioma is a cruel and unfair disease. People who are diagnosed with this rare and fatal form of cancer are often completely unaware that they have been exposed to asbestos or of the risk that they face, and once they learn of their fate their options are limited. They must choose among the different short-term medical solutions available to them, and whether to do legal battle against those responsible for their exposure to the carcinogenic material. In the case of 59-year old Myra Williams, who died of mesothelioma in 2003, her family chose to fight against the asbestos companies responsible for over a decade. That fight has recently come to a close, with a Louisiana judge telling a compressor manufacturer that they had to pay the family $9.2 million for their loss.

The battle that Mrs. Williams’ family fought over 14 years is indicative of just how hard an asbestos company will go to fight a mesothelioma lawsuit, as well as how diligently the legal system works to ensure that justice is done. Myra Williams’ exposure to asbestos came as a result of washing her husband’s work clothes after he finished his shift at the Placid Oil Facility in Natchitoches, Louisiana. After her death in 2003, her family filed a lawsuit against several companies, including her husband Jimmy’s employer and several other companies that supplied Placid Oil. Each of those cases were resolved out of court, with only Ingersoll Rand choosing to fight the family’s wrongful death and survival claims. Testimony was submitted at trial indicating that the company’s compressors were responsible for the asbestos dust that coated Mr. Williams’ work clothes and sickened Mrs. Williams, and a jury awarded a total of $5.5 million to the family, with $3 million in damages to Mrs. Williams’ estate, $1 million to her husband, and $750,000 to each of her four children. The company appealed the verdict on multiple grounds and the case dragged on until the recent decision.

After almost fourteen years, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit has put this case to rest. They denied all of Ingersoll-Rand’s arguments against their responsibility, and paid special attention to the company’s argument that the adult children were too old to have each warranted a $750,000 award. The judge ruled that the family’s bond with Mrs. Williams had been extremely close, and her loss particularly painful and tragic. In addition to upholding the original decision, they also added years’ worth of interest, raising the total awarded to the family to over $9.2 million.

Mesothelioma exacts an enormous toll on those diagnosed, as well as those who love them. To learn more about getting the support that you need if this illness strikes someone close to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. We can be reached at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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