Pittsburgh couple names 79 defendants in asbestos suit

By Chris Dickerson | Feb 22, 2006

CHARLESTON – A Pittsburgh couple has filed an asbestos-related lawsuit against 79 defendants in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Barnett R. and Dolores Stubblefield filed he lawsuit Jan. 30 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In the suit, filed by Pittsburgh attorney David P. Chervenick and Charleston attorney Scott Segal, Barnett Stubblefield says that he was exposed to asbestos products of the defendants while working at various job sites in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania over many years as a laborer. Now, Stubblefield has mesothelioma.

In the 15-count complaint, Stubblefield says he was exposed to asbestos and other harmful ingredients in products manufactured, supplied and/or sold by various defendants. He says these seller defendants were negligent because they knew or should have known their products were "inherently, excessively, and ultrahazardously dangerous."

He also says the defendants failed to warn of dangers when they knew or should have known products would cause disease and injury, failed to take reasonable precautions to warn of dangers, failed to inform of safe and sufficient apparel, failed to inform of safe and proper protective equipment and appliances, failed to inform of safe and proper methods of handling and using products, failed to test products to ascertain dangers, failed to test other ingredients in products, failed to remove products from the market when they knew or should have known of hazards and failed to place warning on products to warn handlers of dangers.

He also says these defendants failed to properly adequately and safely label products, sold products with dangerous ingredients that were in defective condition, sold products that were unreasonably safe and sold products containing asbestos, silica and other dangerous ingredients that were in defective condition and unreasonably unsafe because of failure to give reliable and complete warnings of dangers. He also says the defendants expressly or impliedly warranted that their products were suitable and fit for the purpose for which they were made and were not abnormally dangerous. Those warranties were false and untrue and were breached, he claims.

As a result, Stubblefield says he has suffered and will suffer damages for medical treatment, drugs and other unknown remedial medical measures; great pain of body and mind; embarrassment and inconvenience; loss of earning capacity; loss of enjoyment of life and shortening of life expectancy.

He says he has suffered and is suffering from lung injury which may progress into other severe and disabling diseases of the body, shock and other attendant nervous or emotional disorders. He also says he has an increased risk of malignancy and other diseases and injuries, all of which are or may be permanent in nature.

The suit contends that since the 1920s, the defendants have possessed medical and scientific data showing products were hazardous to health. Stubblefield claims that their pecuniary motives show they were willfully, wantonly and in total disregard for the safety of the plaintiff. Rather, he says they conspired together to deceive the public and plaintiff in several aspects, including but not limited to controlling industry supported research, successfully tainting reports of data, suppressing certain information and prohibiting the publication of certain articles.

The suit also cites the 1934 study backed by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Johns-Manville Corp. in which Dr. Anthony Lanza of Met Life didn't say asbestos exposure could be fatal. Stubblefield also says defendants had known of the existence of mesothelioma, its relationship to asbestos exposure and ways to monitor for asbestos since at least 1964.

He also seeks punitive damages from all of the defendants because their actions were willful, wanton, malicious and in reckless disregard of the safety of himself and others.

Stubblefield says some owner defendants reached a duty to provide him, a business invitee workman, with a reasonably safe place to work.

Also, Stubblefield's wife sues for loss of spousal consortium.

Stubblefield says he and others were exposed to asbestos-containing products supplied by Earl B. Beach Company and that Beach is covered against asbestos claims by USF&G.

He also mentions Eichleay Corporation and Premiere Refractories Inc. because, by and through their employees, those companies allowed Stubblefield to become exposed to airborne asbestos fibers and to inhale said fibers throughout his career with them when it had knowledge of dangers.

The Stubblefields request a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to a visiting judge.

Here's the entire list of defendants:

20th Century Glove Corporation of Texas, Ajax Magnethermic Corporation, Allied Glove Corporation, American Optical Corporation, Anchor Packing Company, Argo Packing Company, Atlas Industries Inc., A.W. Chesterton Company, Bayer Corporation, Bayer Cropscience Inc., Beazer East Inc., Cabot Corporation, CBS Corporation, Certainteed Corporation, Columbia Paint Corp. dba Columbia Paint Town, Cooper Industries Inc., Crown Cork & Seal Company (USA) Inc., Dana Corporation, Durabla Mfg Company, Earl B. Beach Company, Eichleay Corporation, Elliott Company, F.B. Wright Company, Fairmont Supply Company, Famous Furnace & Supply Co., Flowserve US Inc fka Flowserve FSD Corporation, Foseco Inc., Foster Wheeler LLC, The Gage Company, Garlock Sealing Technologies Inc., General Electric Company, General Refractories Company, George V. Hamilton Inc., Goodrich Corporation, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Greene Tweed & Co., Hedman Mines Ltd., Hinchliffe & Keener Co., I U North America Inc., Industrial Holdings Corporation, Ingersoll-Rand Company, Insul Company Inc., International Systems and Controls Corporation, J.H. France Refractories Company, Jay Instrument and Specialty Inc., John Crane Inc., Joy Technologies Inc., Kentile Floors Inc., Lockheed Martin Corporation, M.S. Jacobs & Associates Inc., Mallinckrodt Inc., Melrath Supply and Gasket Company, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company aka Metropolitan Insurance Company, Mobil Corporation, NL Industries Inc., New Leednorth Company, Oglebay Norton Company, Owens-Illinois Inc., Pittsburgh Metals Purifying Company/Treesdale, Powermaster Pacific Products, Premiere Refractories Inc., Rhone-Poulenc AG Company Inc., Riley Power Inc. fka Babcock Borsig Power Inc., Robertson Ceco Corporation fka H.H. Robertson Company, Rust Constructors Inc., Rust Engineering & Construction Inc., Safety First Industries Inc., The Sager Corporation, Seegott Inc., Steel Grip Inc., TLS Enterprises Inc., Tasco Insulation Inc., Treco Construction Service Inc., UB West Virginia Inc. fka Union Boiler Company, Universal Refractories Corporation, USF&G Insurance Company, Viacom Inc., Vimasco Corporation and Weil-McLain Company.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-159

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