Ohio Man’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos-Contaminated Protective Clothing

An Ohio man who was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2014 has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the company that made the protective gear that he wore while working as a cast house helper in a steel plant. Though the clothing manufacturer, American Optical Corporation, filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit, District Judge Christopher A. Boyko denied the request and is allowing the case to move forward to a jury trial.

Asbestos provided protection, but caused mesothelioma

One of the great ironies of the historic use of asbestos is that while the material was used for its protective qualities, it was actually causing unimaginable harm, including untold numbers of cases of malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos is a mineral that has been used for centuries to provide strength to some materials and to add fire and heat retardant characteristics to others. For Donald Maclachlan, the presence of asbestos in the articles of protective clothing that he wore every day while working in the blast furnace had the advantage of protecting him from intense heat and the molten splash of hot steel. He recalls having worn thermal protective coats and gloves, and remembers being told that those products as well as protective leggings and hoods were provided by American Optical. He also remembers other details, such as the “gray, fuzzy” lining of those coats eventually wearing down. He recalls that when he watched a training video that identified asbestos pipe insulation, it looked just like what came out of the coat he had worn.

Asbestos manufacturer argues against responsibility for illness

Though American Optical argues against its responsibility for Mr. Maclachlan’s malignant mesothelioma, their complaint to the court relied upon the argument that Mr. Maclachlan’s original deposition contained small factual inconsistencies and that he had no proof that his illness was caused by their product. This argument, which is similar to the defense mounted by many asbestos companies, was overruled by the judge, who said that it is up to a jury to determine the facts of the case, and whether Mr. Maclachlan is correct in his assertion that the company had a duty of care to alert him to the dangers of wearing their products.

Many people were unwittingly exposed to asbestos in the course of simply doing their jobs, and as a result they ended up with malignant mesothelioma. If you have been affected by this cruel disease and you need information about the resources available to you, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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