Vincent and Antoinette Scriptunas have filed suit against 85 different companies in a West Virginia Court, claiming that Mr. Scriptunas malignant mesothelioma is the result of asbestos exposure he received while working in a Union Carbide plant in South Carolina. The Scriptunas now live in West Virginia. The 11-count suit alleges that Mr. Scriptunas developed mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure from his years of work at the Union Carbide plant. He was exposed to asbestos-containing dust during his 37-year employment at the plant. Mesothelioma is a deadly and incurable cancer that affects the mesothelium, the thin layer of cells that wrap the heart, lungs and abdominal cavity, and which is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos.
Mr. Scriptunas says that his mesothelioma could have been prevented if the companies, which manufactured a wide variety of products which contained asbestos at the time of his exposure, had warned him of the dangers of exposure. The Scriptunas are suing for damages including his medical costs and loss of consortium for Mrs. Scriptunas, as well as punitive damages. Although Mr. Scriptunas exposure occurred in South Carolina, like many asbestos claimants he chose to sue in West Virginia. The state is perceived as having a favorable environment for plaintiffs against industrial corporations, and has looser regulations and guidelines as to who can sue for what than many other states. This plaintiff-friendly environment is good for those seeking justice in their cases against asbestos manufacturers, but has had negative impacts on the states rankings of business-friendly environments. The state frequently ranks at the bottom of several lists of business-friendly states, based upon the large number of lawsuits and size of payments rendered to plaintiffs. In addition to its plaintiff-friendly status, West Virginia sees many cases filed simply because of the states history of industry and mining.