Asbestos in Linotype Machine Blamed for Man’s Mesothelioma

In the years prior to the 20th century, people were not aware that asbestos caused malignant mesothelioma and other illnesses. Its dangers were simply not known so manufacturers used it freely, relying on the substance to increase durability and to insulate against fire, heat and sound. This was true of many types of equipment, including the Linotype, which was first patented in 1884. But by the time Thomas Pearson was responsible for maintaining one of the modern versions of the machine, its manufacturer was well aware of the dangers. Mr. Pearson died of mesothelioma caused by his exposure to asbestos, and the company’s lack of warnings or precautions is at the heart of a mesothelioma lawsuit filed by his widow.

Cleaning and Repair of Linotype Machine Blamed for Mesothelioma

Mr. Pearson died of malignant mesothelioma after 24 years of working for the Vermont Standard newspaper, cleaning and repairing a Mergenthaler Model 8 Linotype machine. He was just 72 at the time of his death, and his widow Donna accused the linotype company of negligence. In her filing she described her late husband’s role and job responsibilities and claimed that had he been warned of the dangers he would have done his work differently and taken appropriate precautions.

Thomas Pearson began working for the weekly newspaper at just 17 years old, and the young apprentice could never have dreamed that the work he loved would eventually lead to a malignant mesothelioma diagnosis. He learned to operate, clean and maintain the equipment, and continued to do so for decades. His work constantly exposed him to asbestos dust. He used a cleaning tool that was made of asbestos, and frequently scraped old asbestos insulation out of the machine and replaced it with new. He even mixed asbestos with water as part of the process, breathing in the toxic fibers.

Company Argues Against Responsibility for Mesothelioma

Faced with accusations of negligence in Mr. Pearson’s death, Heidelberg USA filed a motion to have the case dismissed. They claimed that too much time had passed since his exposure, that he had not done his work properly, and that there was no proof that it was their machine that had led to his fatal illness. The court denied each of these arguments and allowed the case to move forward. The widow will be able to continue seeking justice for her loss.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Reviewer and Editor

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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