Widow sues 16 companies for husband's asbestos-related death

By Cara Bailey | May 18, 2007

CHARLESTON - A widow of a man who died from asbestos-related diseases filed a suit against 16 corporations, claiming their negligence caused her husband's death.

Mary Ellen Burns and Patricia Ann Rollins, through attorney James A. McKowen, filed a suit May 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court, on behalf of the estate of Willard Harold Burns. Rollins in the executrix of Burns' estate.

According to the lawsuit, Willard Burns died Feb. 3, 2007, of asbestosis and mesothelioma, both diseases contracted after exposure to asbestos. Burns was employed by Union Carbide Corporation as an operator, boilermaker and welder, from 1943 to 1977.

The suit says Burns breathed asbestos and other harmful dusts and developed mesothelioma. According to the suits, the defendants are responsible for Burns' illness and subsequently, his death, by neglecting to inform him of the dangers associated with asbestos.

Mary Ellen Burns and Patricia Ann Rollins seek full compensation and punitive damages, in the nine-count lawsuit.

The case will be assigned to a visiting judge.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-813

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