Old Hickory, TN—In one of an increasing number of lawsuits against the company, a Tennessee man has filed a wrongful death suit against DuPont, claiming that exposure to asbestos fibers led to the mesothelioma which killed his mother.
Ruby Neely, who died earlier this year from the asbestos cancer, was exposed indirectly, via the asbestos fibers that her husband, Lively, brought home from his job on his work clothes. Asbestos, a fibrous mineral which was once highly prized for its resistance to heat and fire, can disintegrate into a microscopic dust or particulate, and can therefore cling to fabrics such as clothing or shoes. In this manner it can be transported from one location to another, and poses a health hazard not only to those who encounter it on the job, but also to their loved ones. Lively Neely worked at the Old Hickory DuPont plant for 20 years. His job caused him to come into regular contact with asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing materials, and as a result hi contracted an asbestos-related disease as well.
Neely reached a settlement with DuPont in the 1980s. During the time of his employment, Neely unwittingly exposed his wife to the carcinogenic fibers that clung to his work clothes. Now Roger Neely, their son, has filed the lawsuit to claim that DuPont and other companies failed to warn his father and other workers about the dangers of asbestos, thereby leading to his mother’s secondhand exposure and death. Mesothelioma is diagnosed in approximately 3,000 new patients every year in the United States. Due to asbestos’s widespread use in the mid-20th century, combined with mesothelioma’s latency period of 20-50 years, these numbers are expected to peak within the coming decade. Asbestos litigation is expected to be the largest tort in American history, and DuPont has been the target of many lawsuits similar to Roger Neely’s.