In many cases, a person who has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma learns that the company that originally exposed them to asbestos is no longer operating under its original ownership. In most cases, an acquiring company is not able to escape legal responsibility for the negligence of the company that they’ve purchased. A Washington appeals court recently heard a case that revolved around this issue, as an acquiring company tried to escape paying damages to a mesothelioma victim both because the original negligence was not theirs and because they questioned the legal standing of the victim’s beneficiaries. The company lost on both counts.
Asbestos Company’s Successor Questions Mesothelioma Victim’s Stepdaughter’s Rights
The original mesothelioma lawsuit had been filed by Marvin Leren, a man who had worked for a brick manufacturing company and had endured 20 years of exposure to asbestos dust. He was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in the spring of 2015, and before he died he pursued legal action against the company that had provided his employer with the asbestos in their bricks. He learned that it had been sold, and that the acquiring company had also been sold, leaving all ownership with a company called Elementis.
Though Mr. Leren died from mesothelioma a few months later, before his death he filed a lawsuit against Elementis. He also wrote a will in which he left a portion of his estate to his stepdaughter from a marriage that had ended amicably 30 years earlier. After Mr. Leren’s case was decided in favor of his estate, Elementis appealed the verdict. They wanted to evade responsibility based on their own lack of involvement in having originally supplied the asbestos, but also tried to deny the victim’s stepdaughter her portion of the damages based upon the fact that his relationship with the girl’s mother had ended decades earlier.
Appeals Court Rules Against Successor to Asbestos Company
The judges of the Washington state appeals court quickly dispatched with Elementis’ appeal of the mesothelioma verdict. In their decision they pointed out that according to the doctrine of successor liability, in purchasing the company’s assets they had also acquired the goodwill associated with their sales, including those of hazardous materials, and therefore were legally responsible for any harm done. They also quickly dismissed the company’s argument against the stepdaughter’s right to be a beneficiary, pointing out that relationships between parents and their stepchildren do not end when a marriage does.
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.