A Florence, Alabama family won $3.5 million verdict after a woman exposed to asbestos suffered from years of pain.
According to court documents, Barbara Bobo, the wife of a nuclear plant employee who worked around asbestos all day, developed second-hand mesothelioma after washing and drying her husband’s clothes in the family home. Her husband, James Bobo, worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, and also developed an asbestos disease, asbestos-related lung cancer. He passed away in 1997.
Barbara not only washed and dried her husband’s asbestos-filled work clothes, but she also cleaned the laundry room floor with a broom and dustpan, which stirred up airborne asbestos fibers, causing her to unknowingly ingest them. After developing mesothelioma, she underwent surgery in 2011 to remove the pleural lining in her lung. She followed up with chemotherapy treatments, resulting in extreme pain and and a myriad of adverse side effects.
The victims’ two daughters filed a mesothelioma lawsuit and began fighting for their rights, and as a result, Judge Lynwood Smith of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama awarded the $3.5 million to both Melissa Ann Bobo and Shannon Jean Bobo Cox, the victims’ daughters. According to the family attorney,
“This didn’t have to happen. If the TVA had simply followed the law and its own guidelines, these two people might still be alive.”
TVA is currently reviewing the court’s decision, according to its spokesperson. Barbara was never an employee herself of TVA, yet, second-hand exposure to asbestos from someone who does, which leads to an asbestos-related disease, is recognizable by most courts in the nation.
Although asbestos was removed from numerous products and job sites after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on its use in the late 1970s, the dangerous mineral still isn’t completely banned. Many people still work around asbestos, but with additional safety gear and more strict precautions. However, since there are no safe levels of asbestos, it’s crucial to make sure you’re taking proper precautions at home if you or a loved one work around asbestos.
Completely avoiding asbestos is the best option, but if it’s impossible to do so, consider the following tips to help protect you and your loved ones:
- Always know which areas, materials, and products contain asbestos. Federal law mandates that employers or those who contract your services must let you know where and how you may be exposed to asbestos.
- Use safety gear at all times when working around asbestos, including a dual cartridge respirator equipped with with HEPA filtered cartridges. The paper dust masks found at most hardware stores are not recommended for use as they cannot filter out tiny asbestos fibers.
- If possible, shower before returning home. Asbestos fibers can stick to the clothes, hair, and skin, and can easily transfer into the family home.
- Always wear disposable coveralls while working around asbestos. Be certain to choose the coveralls with built-in feet. Dispose of the coveralls properly after use.
- All equipment and tools used during the workday should be thoroughly washed with hot water prior to leaving your work site. Throw away any tools that cannot be thoroughly disinfected. Make sure any tools that you throw away are properly disposed of according to your state’s guidelines.
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other illness related to asbestos, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. There is currently over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who are victims to asbestos-related diseases. Use our free Asbestos Attorney Locator Tool today to find a leading mesothelioma attorney in your area. For additional assistance, questions, and information, contact us toll-free at 800-694-4856.