A Tennessee county recently settled a mesothelioma-asbestos exposure lawsuit with the widow of a former school teacher who allegedly contracted the deadly lung disease while working for the county decades ago. The lawsuit had been slated to go to a trial by jury just a few days before the settlement but the recent discovery of asbestos on school grounds may have prompted county officials to reconsider resolving the issue.
The victim worked for a pair of Knox County schools, South-Doyle High School and Fulton High School, from the 60’s until the late 90’s, before he developed mesothelioma and passed away from his condition in 2011. During his time at the two institutions, the plaintiff recalled seeing what he later knew to be asbestos falling from the ceilings of his classrooms and other buildings.
While the exact number of the settlement is unclear, the compensation is expected to be no more than $300,000, as the state’s government liability to tort claims is limited to this number under the law. The county is expected to spend another $250,000 on asbestos removal to ensure no one at the school is put at risk of developing asbestos-related conditions like mesothelioma.
Pipe Insulation Contained Asbestos, Plaintiff Claimed
Knox County recently closed the doors to the library as South-Doyle High School after discovering asbestos in the roof decking of the structure. The county had hired a private engineering firm in 1990 to conduct a survey of its schools to identify any asbestos which may pose a threat to students, faculty, and staff. A spokesperson for the county called the recent discovery an oversight on the engineering firm’s part for not identifying the asbestos earlier.
While at Fulton High School in the 1960’s through the 1980’s, the victim claims he frequently had to sweep up flaky material later identified as friable, meaning crumbling, material which he believed could have been asbestos. During the plaintiff’s time with Fulton High, the school was part of Knoxville city school system. The plaintiff’s already reached a separate settlement with that entity but continued to pursue a claim against Knox County for asbestos exposure at South-Doyle.
Parents were alerted to the presence of asbestos in the roof of South-Doyle, acknowledging the spray-on insulation could pose a danger if the friable material became airborne. Asbestos is also present in the flooring tiles at South-Doyle but the county argued the danger to exposure is minimal since the floor tiles have different structural properties than spray on insulation.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
If you or a loved one contracted mesothelioma, it could be due to asbestos exposure while at work, handling contaminated product, or second-hand exposure. Asbestos manufacturers have known for years of the dangers their products posed to innocent victims but did little to warn others of the dangers.
For more information, contact our office. The mesothelioma lawyers of The Throneberry Law Group understands the difficulty of dealing with asbestos-related diseases and look forward to discussing how we can help.