A mesothelioma lawsuit that was filed in the state of Wisconsin has moved into a new phase as District Judge William M. Conley denied defendant 3M Company’s attempts to have the case against them dropped.
At issue are 3M respirators that were distributed to employees at Weyerhaeuser Company’s door manufacturing plant, located in Marshfield Wisconsin.
Both Elvira Kilty and Herbert Spatz were longtime employees of Weyerhaeuser who worked in asbestos-contaminated areas of the factory, and who were issued 3M facemarks that they were required to wear to protect them against toxic asbestos dust.
Both plaintiffs were later diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and filed negligence and strict liability lawsuits against 3M, claiming that the respirators were defective and didn’t adequately protect them against asbestos.
Though 3M defended its respirators on a number of technical points with which the judge concurred, the judge agreed that the evidence submitted by Ms. Kilty and Mr. Spatz was persuasive enough to permit the case to go before a jury.
The judge pointed out that the most concerning aspect of the evidence was documentation showing that 3M’s own internal testing during the period between 1972 and 1978 revealed that the respirators did not meet NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) requirements for specific safety criteria, and that the company failed to reveal this information to either NIOSH or USBM (U.S. Bureau of Mines).
When this data was combined with the other technical issues submitted by the plaintiffs, the judge agreed that a reasonable jury could find that there were deficiencies that might have led to exposure to asbestos. The case will proceed to trial, where the victims will still need to establish that the defective respirators were a substantial contributing factor to their mesothelioma diagnosis.
A mesothelioma diagnosis comes with a great deal of pain, grief and frustration, but justice is available. If you need information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.