West Virginia Couple Sues Multiple Companies Over Mesothelioma Diagnosis

A Wheeling, West Virginia couple is filing a lawsuit against numerous companies, claiming that their negligence in allowing the husband to be exposed to asbestos products led directly to his diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Robert L. Wood, along with his wife, Candice J. Wood, have named 125 defendants in the lawsuit, including Certainteed Corporation, 3M Company, Georgia Pacific Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Viacom, Inc.

According to the suit, the defendants are being sued for negligence, breach of expressed/implied warranty, contaminated buildings, misrepresentations, strict liability, intentional tort, conspiracy and post-sale duty to warn. Wood was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the asbestos-related cancer of the lungs’ lining, in December 2009. He also says that he smoked intermittently in the 1960s, for a total of six years. Although smoking does in itself cause mesothelioma, the combination of smoking and exposure to asbestos does increase the risk of developing this rare form of cancer.

Asbestos was at one time widely used in many different manufacturing capacities. It is extremely lightweight, strong, durable and fireproof, as well as being flexible. Asbestos can be mixed with substances such as plastic, cement and paint; it can also be woven into cloth or spun into yarn. Unfortunately, it also causes several diseases, including mesothelioma, when the microscopic needle-like fibers that comprise it become airborne. These fibers are easily respirable, and can lodge themselves in the mesothelium, where they can lead to cellular damage and the formation of a tumor.

Mesothelioma, a cancer which is diagnosed in only 2,000 to 3,000 new patients in the United States each year, is fatal. There is no cure for it, and most treatments—which include surgical procedures, chemotherapy and radiation therapy—are intended to relieve the symptoms of the disease, but not to cure it. Few individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma live more than a few months. The Woods are suing for a trial by jury in order to resolve the issues concerning their asbestos and mesothelioma case.