In a recently filed lawsuit, Robert C. Sherer, along with his wife Dorothy, claim that he contracted the cancer mesothelioma as a result of his work in many jobs where he may have been exposed to asbestos, which is the number one cause of mesothelioma.
Sherer worked as a janitor for Liberty National from 1963 to 1965; as a sander and planer for Davis Cabinet Company and Murphy Furniture from 1965 to 1966; as a truck driver for Walker County Wholesale from 1966 to 1967; as a machinist for American Cast Iron Pipe Co., from 1967 to 1981; in the maintenance shop at Drummond Company from 1981 to 1984; as a machinist for Jasper Electric Motors form 1983 to 1991; and as a welder for Drummond Company from 1990 until 1996.
Any of these positions may have exposed Sherer to the toxic asbestos material, as it was widely used in the mid-20th Century and afterwards as an insulating material in an array of manufacturing and automotive capacities. Automotive brakes and clutches, building materials, and any sort of protective gear to prevent exposure to high temperatures would all have contained asbestos in some form.
When the asbestos fibers are inhaled by a worker, or by the worker’s family after they inadvertently bring the microscopic fibers home on their clothing, they can lead to a devastating form of cancer known as mesothelioma. These sharp, tiny fibers can burrow into the mesothelium, a sheath which surrounds and protects the lungs and other internal organs. When they do so, they can cause the cells to become malignant and form a tumor.
Mesothelioma is an unusual form of cancer because it can remain in the body for years without being symptomatic, so many people are not diagnosed until the cancer is advanced to end stages. It is also particularly resistant to chemotherapy and radiation; additionally, surgery is not usually feasible for mesothelioma patients. With an average of only 6 to 18 months to live after diagnosis, most patients enter hospice care and opt for pain management methods.
Although relatively few people are diagnosed with this devastating cancer each year—estimates range form 2,000 to 3,000 in the United States—mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases constitute one of the largest tort issues in the country today.