Detailed Memory of Asbestos Insulation Drives Mesothelioma Lawsuit

George C. Proctor died of malignant mesothelioma just 13 months after being diagnosed with the rare, asbestos-related disease, but that was enough time for him to file suit against those he blamed for his illness. Though Burnham LLC, a boiler manufacturer, moved to have his case against them dismissed, Mr. Proctor’s clear description of his use of their product outweighed their arguments and the judge permitted his quest for justice to continue.

Motion to dismiss

Mesothelioma Blamed on Asbestos-Containing Insulation

The mesothelioma victim provided detailed deposition testimony about his work for Vanderlin Electrical Contractors, and that as part of his job he worked on boilers branded with the Burnham name. He described the boilers as having been “unjacketed” and that his work required assembling them and applying an asbestos cement mix to the exterior of the boilers to create a “jacket.”

He further testified that he was certain that the cement mix he used contained the asbestos that led to his mesothelioma because its packaging was marked with the word “asbestos.” He recalled the dust that was generated when he removed insulation from the boilers and breathing that dust in when the asbestos was either applied or removed.

Asbestos Company Denies Negligence in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Though Burnham did not deny that its insulation had once contained asbestos, or even that it had recommended the use of asbestos-containing insulation, they argued that they had stopped manufacturing those products prior to Mr. Proctor’s exposure to them. They said that he had failed to show that they had a duty to warn of the risk of mesothelioma because after 1963 their products were distributed with non-asbestos insulation already underneath the jacket, and that therefore his case should be dismissed.

In considering this argument, Justice Manuel J. Mendez of the Supreme Court of the State of New York noted that even if it was true that Burnham’s had stopped manufacturing boilers requiring asbestos in 1962, they could not prove that their products weren’t residually in inventory and available for use. He also noted the strength of Mr. Proctor’s recollection and said that it supported the weight of the evidence against the company. He permitted the case to move forward and denied the company’s motion to dismiss. 

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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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