One of the tragic ironies surrounding mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases is that they’re caused by a material whose intent was protective. Asbestos is a mineral that has long been used to mitigate the effects of heat, sound and flame — it was incorporated in insulation, brake linings, floor and ceiling tiles and more, specifically to keep the environment around those items safe. Even clothing meant to shield workers from high heat proved to be dangerous. A lawsuit first filed in 2014 makes this clear, as a man diagnosed with mesothelioma seeks justice from the clothing manufacturer whose garments he blames for his fatal illness.
Mesothelioma Victim Remembers Protective Coats and Gloves
Working in a steel plant exposes employees to extreme heat and the risk of life-threatening burns, so they are equipped with protective clothing that shields them. Until the 1970s that clothing often included asbestos, the mineral known to cause malignant mesothelioma. Ohio native Donald MacLachlan filed suit against American Optical Corporation, blaming the company for failing to warn that the thermal protective coats and gloves that they made could cause him harm. The company filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit, arguing that he contradicted himself in multiple depositions and that some of his testimony was factually incorrect.
Mr. MacLachlan first provided testimony regarding his asbestos history in September of 2014 and May of 2015 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014. Some of his testimony was contradictory, and he later offered an affidavit in 2018 explaining that though he had tried his best to remember all of the details of his work clothing, several decades had passed and he was suffering from the effects of his mesothelioma. Despite this explanation, the clothing company move to dismiss his case.
Judge Allows Mesothelioma Lawsuit to Move Forward
Though Judge Christopher A. Boyko of the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio Eastern Division acknowledged the contradictions in what American Optical’s attorneys called a “revisionist affidavit”, he ruled that those contradictions did not mean that it should automatically be stricken. He writes, “The Court recognizes that these product liability cases, where an asbestos-related illness may not appear for decades, often involve extensive employment histories and recollection of multiple workplaces, job responsibilities and products used or simply observed by plaintiffs. Plaintiff Donald MacLachlan was asked about a job he held over thirty years earlier. He is now suffering with mesothelioma symptoms and somewhat advanced age. He was shown pictures of protective coats in an American Optical catalog which he did not see at the time of his depositions. Thus, the Court determines that the contradictions in the supplemental affidavit can be reasonably explained by confusion, memory lapses and new pertinent evidence.”
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney 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.