For years, General Electric’s products contained asbestos, and as a result the company has faced thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits. Though the company has frequently argued against their products’ role in the rare and deadly illness, a recent case saw them apparently assuming responsibility but arguing against the mesothelioma victim’s legal approach. Because Fidel Rivera had spent twenty years working for the company before he got sick, General Electric maintained that he was only eligible for Workers’ Compensation and that his personal injury lawsuit should be dismissed.
Mesothelioma Victim Worked with GE’s Products Before Becoming Company Employee
Fidel Rivera died of malignant pleural mesothelioma before his case was heard in court, but his family continued his pursuit of justice in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. The man had worked as an electrician’s apprentice from the time he was 18, and then worked for independent contractors as a union electrician. From 1956 to 1975 he was exposed to asbestos-contaminated products made by General Electric. It was only after that point in time that he went to work for the company.
General Electric’s Motion to Dismiss Based on Victim’s Status as a Former Employee
Though Mr. Rivera did work for General Electric, he never filed a Worker’s Compensation claim against them over his malignant mesothelioma. Instead, the lawsuit claimed that his exposure to the company’s products prior to his years of working for them had caused his illness. General Electric filed a motion to dismiss based on him having worked for them for twenty years.
Judge Denies GE’s Argument in Mesothelioma Lawsuit
Though it is true that employees are generally not permitted to file personal injury lawsuits against their employer over mesothelioma caused on the job, Judge Manuel J. Mendez of the New York Supreme Court denied the company’s motion to dismiss. He agreed with the victim’s family that Mr. Rivera having worked for GE did not mean that the company was shielded from liability for his exposure to their products prior to his employment. In his decision he wrote that Mr. Rivera had worked with GE’s asbestos-contaminated products “separately from the course of decedent’s employment.” As a result, GE was not able to escape the potential for being liable for negligence. The case will move forward to a jury.
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.