When a person diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma decides to pursue legal action against those responsible, one of the first steps that their attorneys take is to investigate every possible source of asbestos exposure. This step is essential to the pursuit of justice, but some companies try to quash even the suggestion that they might be to blame, and try to shut down investigations before they can even begin. In a recent example, a welding and metal works company tried to have charges against them dismissed before the victim’s family could conduct a full discovery process. Fortunately, the judge in the case denied their motion for summary judgment and is permitting the investigation to move forward.
Welding and Metal Works Company Files Motion for Summary Judgment in Mesothelioma Claim
The case involved Raymond Hutchins, Jr., who died of malignant mesothelioma after working for the Lykes Bros. Steamship Company from 1964 to 2006. His work placed him on several of the steamship company’s ships and put him in close proximity to repair work conducted by Dixie Machine, where his family alleges that he was exposed to asbestos.
Dixie Machine’s attorneys filed a motion for summary judgment seeking removal from the case, arguing that the mesothelioma victim’s survivors had failed to provide any facts supporting their assertion of blame. Mr. Hutchins’ attorneys asserted that the motion was premature, particularly in light of his employer having been Dixie Machine’s largest customer from the 1950s through 1983, and Dixie having performed repair work on every one of their vessels, including those that Mr. Hutchins had worked on. They pointed to Dixie Machine employees cutting pieces of insulation to access pipes that needed welding and reinsulating, suggesting that there was a real need to determine whether asbestos was present and might have contributed to his fatal disease.
Judge Agrees with Mesothelioma Victim’s Family
In reviewing the case, District Judge Carl Barbier of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana determined that the motion for summary judgment was premature and should be denied. He wrote that the family was “entitled to meaningful discovery to determine whether the exposure caused by Dixie Machine’s repairs was a substantial contributing cause of decedent’s mesothelioma,” and that “without such discovery Plaintiffs cannot reasonably be expected to establish genuine issues of material fact which would preclude summary judgment.”
If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and subsequently diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need a strong advocate by your side. For help, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.