COVID-19 impacted many mesothelioma lawsuits, including the wrongful death claim filed by Carol Backe against Conwed Corporation. Though the trial was originally scheduled for February, its date was pushed back to May. The delay is one of many that the Backe family have faced since Gene “Randy” Backe was diagnosed with the fatal disease in December of 2018.
Asbestos Company Attempts Several Maneuvers to Avoid Mesothelioma Liability
The mesothelioma lawsuit that Carol Backe filed against Conwed Corporation is far from the first asbestos claim against the Minnesota company. State health records indicate that the rate of lung cancer death among men from Cloquet — where Conwed is located — is 36% higher than elsewhere in the state, and that the rate of mesothelioma is 70 times the normal rate. Court records indicate 39 separate claims of mesothelioma filed since the mid-1980s. Still, the state’s workers compensation laws limit the company’s liability, and Conwed has also attempted to avoid responsibility by pointing to the fact that it moved out of the state decades ago. The company used that argument to push back against the Backes last year, but the court denied their motion to dismiss.
Conwed Corporation’s ties to mesothelioma come from the company’s production of mineral board and ceiling tile products that incorporated asbestos. Approximately 6,000 workers were exposed to the carcinogen over the years, which explains the high number of asbestos victims. A Minnesota Department of Health study showed that 30% of former Conwed workers tested positive for asbestos-related lung abnormalities.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Points to Second-Hand Exposure to Asbestos
Though Conwed has defeated many mesothelioma lawsuits by pointing to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, Mrs. Backe blames her late husband’s death on asbestos carried into his childhood home by her father-in-law, who also worked for the plant. In fact, Mr. Backe only worked for the company intermittently for two years prior to attending college, while his father worked as a millwright in the factory from 1935 through 1975. He was responsible for fixing machinery located in an area that was heavily contaminated with asbestos.
Evidence in the case includes testimony about the company’s knowledge of asbestos dangers, as well as on the thick layer of asbestos dust on the elder Backe’s work clothes when he came home each night and of Mr. Backe helping his mother launder his father’s clothes. There are also depositions attesting to the pain and suffering that Mr. Backe suffered prior to his death.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that you have all the resources and information you need in order to meet the challenges that you will face. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.