Asbestos Companies Blame Each Other After Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Most mesothelioma lawsuits name multiple defendants that have been involved in the asbestos supply chain, and the case filed by Ted Matherne and his family is no exception. When their wrongful death claim named Westinghouse Electric Corporation and its customer Hopeman Brothers, the two turned on each other, with one asking to be dropped from litigation and the other opposing the action.


Second-Hand Asbestos Exposure Blamed for Wife’s Mesothelioma

Though it’s not common for asbestos companies facing mesothelioma liability to lay blame on one another, it’s not unheard of either. In the case filed by the Matherne family, the issue surrounding Mrs. Matherne’s second-hand exposure to asbestos carried home on her husband’s work clothes. The asbestos came from a product called Micarta, which was manufactured by Westinghouse Electric Corporation and then sold to Hopeman Brothers.

Hopeman Brothers supplied the deadly product to the Avondale Shipyard where Mr. Matherne worked. Though the lawsuit named pointed to both companies as being liable, Westinghouse petitioned to be dropped from the claim, arguing that Hopeman was a “sophisticated user” and required no warning that asbestos-contaminated products were dangerous. The victim’s family and the contractor both objected to the request.

Judge Denies Asbestos Company’s Request in Mesothelioma Claim

In support of their argument, Westinghouse presented a memo from a former Hopeman executive that questioned the use of the product, asserting that the man had known that it contained asbestos and posed a risk of mesothelioma. But Hopeman’s attorneys countered this argument by saying that the man was not a sophisticated user; that he had only been in his early 20s, had not been fully aware of the implications or dangers, and that his fears had been discounted by a representative from Johns-Manville.

In ruling on the case, the judge agreed with Hopeman and the mesothelioma victim’s family that the sophisticated user argument was a fact to be decided at trial. The case will move forward for a jury to consider.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger


Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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