Chattanooga, TN—There will be a new trial in the case of a DuPont retiree who died from the asbestos cancer mesothelioma, and whose family has brought a suit against his former employer and other companies, ruled a three-judge appeals panel.
Hugh Todd Nye worked at the Chattanooga DuPont facility from 1948-1985—peak years for the use of asbestos materials in the workplaces. There he was exposed to the deadly fibers on a daily basis, and the inhalation of these fibers eventually led to his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Nye’s widow Evelyn had initially sued many different companies for negligence leading to her husband’s death, but by the time the case went to trial, only one defendant—North Brothers, a supplier which had provided the asbestos products to DuPont—remained.
The jury reached a verdict in favor of North Brothers in spring 2008 after a two-week trial in Hamily County Circuit Court, based on instructions from the judge. Now the Tennessee Court of Appeals has unanimously rules that the jury was given erroneous instructions, and that the Nye family is entitled to a new trial because of the errors. Mesothelioma in an extremely serious cancer which is almost exclusively traced back to asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, it can also remain latent and therefore undiagnosed within the body, sometimes for as long as 50 years. When it is eventually diagnosed, the mesothelioma has usually spread throughout the body, is inoperable, and carries a rather grim prognosis. Currently considered incurable, mesothelioma has a life expectancy of only 18 months on average. Approximately 3,000 people are diagnosed with this asbestos cancer in the United States each year. Diagnoses are expected to peak within the coming decade, as more people who were exposed mid-century discover that they have this devastating disease. The case is Evelyn Nye, individually and as surviving spouse of Mr. Nye v. Bayer Cropscience and others.