Did Toxic Pipe Insulation Sicken Celanese Employee?
Each year, some 3,000 Americans are stricken with mesothelioma. Most are over the age of 60; some quite a bit older. In addition, most are men that worked prior to 1980 in industries where the products they manufactured contained high levels of asbestos.
Others came in contact with asbestos-containing products manufactured by others but utilized in the plants and factories in which they worked.
Pipe insulation contained asbestos for decades, which is why those who worked in insulation factories or were exposed to such insulation are amongst the individuals most likely to develop mesothelioma in their later years.
Such is the case of South Carolinian Jerry Crawford, a former employee for the Celanese Corporation, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Crawford alleges that he developed mesothelioma by working within close proximity to asbestos pipe insulation manufactured by Covil Corporation, as reported by CVN.
This week, a state court heard opening statements in a lawsuit filed by Crawford against Covil, alleging that the company knew about the dangers of asbestos yet continued to use it in their insulation products.
Crawford’s lawsuit originally named his employer, Celanese, as well as other defendants including Carrier Corp., Fluor Enterprises and Honeywell, but only Covil, which ceased business in 1991, remained an active defendant when the case went to trial, Crawford’s attorneys report.
Therefore, it will be up to jurors to decide what percentage of responsibility Covil bears for Crawford’s illness as compared to that of other defendants that were previously named in the case.
“They knew it, they did it, and they hid it,” said Crawford’s attorney throughout his opening statement, referring to the fact that Covil continued to use asbestos pipe insulation well into the 1970’s.
This was despite the fact that the company possessed definitive information for years prior that asbestos was the only known cause of mesothelioma cancer and that several thousand victims of asbestos exposure were developing the disease each year.
The attorney called Covil’s continued use of asbestos “a business decision,” one they stuck to despite the fact that they knew about the dangers of the toxic mineral.
“We fundamentally disagree over the value of a human life,” he concluded.