Big Three Auto Makers, Defense Contractor Named in Asbestos Suit

Larry McTaggart’s late father was a mechanic, steamfitter, construction worker and trucker in America’s heartland for the four decades between Pearl Harbor and Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on 13 October of 2006. Last week, Larry McTaggart, on behalf of his late father’s estate, is seeking to hold to account those he alleges are liable. The complaint, which states that the elder McTaggart’s asbestos poisoning was “completely foreseeable and could or should have been anticipated, ” names 48 defendants–three of which are Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Chrysler, LLC. Defense contractor General Electric is also a named defendant as well as Owens-Illinois and at least one insulation company.

According to McTaggart’s suit, his father, Lawrence McTaggart Sr., was exposed on the job as well as at home when working on remodeling projects and doing his own auto repairs. History would appear to offer evidence in the plaintiff’s favor: asbestos has been shown to be used in home insulation as well as throughout automotive construction during the late Mr. McTaggart’s working lifetime. The “defendants knew or should have known that the asbestos fibers contained in their products had a toxic, poisonous and highly deleterious effect upon the health of people,” says the complaint, which was filed in Madison County Court on 11 December. Furthermore, the complaint alleges that the defendants included asbestos in their products despite the fact that adequate substitutes were available.

Employees and users of the defendants’ products were not advised nor trained in the proper handling of the asbestos-containing products, nor provided protective gear or equipment when at worksites at which asbestos was a known hazard. In a claim that is frequently stated in these asbestos cases, McTaggart accuses the defendants of destroying relevant documentation. He is seeking compensatory damages of more than $700,000, in addition to punitive damages, stating in the complaint that such (punitive) damages are “appropriate and necessary in order to punish defendants for their willful, wanton, intentional and/or reckless misconduct and to deter defendants and others from engaging in like misconduct in the future.”