Louisiana Man Exposed to Asbestos on the Job Will Have His Mesothelioma Claim Heard

Though most mesothelioma victims are exposed to asbestos on the job, almost all of their negligence and product liability lawsuits name equipment manufacturers rather than their employers as defendants. This is because workers’ compensation laws prohibit employees from filing personal injury lawsuits against their place of work. But these state laws have all been enacted at different times, and their start date makes a difference, as seen in the case of a Louisiana man seeking justice after his diagnosis with the rare, asbestos-related disease.

U.S. District Court Louisiana

Mesothelioma Victim’s Start Date Impacts Ability to Sue Employer

Robert Stephen Sentilles blames his malignant mesothelioma on asbestos exposure that occurred throughout his life, between the 1950s and the 1980s. He recalls asbestos being brought into his childhood home on his father’s work clothes and his brothers’ work clothes, and to his own later work around the toxic material.

Among the companies named in his mesothelioma claims is Pelnor, L.L.C., where he worked from July 31, 1974 through 1983. Pelnor filed to have the case against it dismissed based upon the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act that went into effect on September 1, 1975. The company argued that because the law limits its tort liability to anything that happened before that date, any evidence of exposure afterwards should be excluded.

Court Sides with Mesothelioma Victim About Admissability of Evidence

Attorneys working on behalf of the mesothelioma victim argued that the workers’ compensation laws do not preclude claims for asbestos exposure prior to their effective date, and that his long-latency claim is not divisible when exposure straddles that date. 

In his review of the case, District Judge Barry W. Ashe of the United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana agreed with the mesothelioma victim. He wrote, “Once it has been determined that a plaintiff’s cause of action for workplace exposure to asbestos accrued before September 1, 1975, the plaintiff has a viable claim to pursue, whether or not exposure to asbestos continued after that date.” He also said that he would not bar evidence of post-September 1, 1975 exposure because “a jury could infer from defendant’s alleged negligence involving asbestos-related injuries after 1975 that it did not act differently while plaintiff was employed by defendant.” 

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos on the job, it is important that you know your rights. For information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at  1-800-692-8608.

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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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