Thomas Co. cancer patient can sue asbestos producer

Updated: Nov. 30, 2016 at 2:48 PM EST
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ATLANTA, GA (WALB) - The Georgia Supreme Court said unanimously Wednesday that a lawsuit may go forward against a manufacturer of asbestos-containing water pipes.

A Thomas County woman claimed she contracted malignant mesothelioma from washing the clothes of her father who worked for the company.

The high court has partially reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals, finding that the company was not responsible for warning the woman about the asbestos dust, but she did have a legitimate claim related to the products' design.

CertainTeed of Pennsylvania has been manufacturing and selling asbestos-containing products since 1930. In 1962, it began manufacturing asbestos pipe for use in municipal water and sewer systems.

James Fletcher was an employee of the City of Thomasville Water & Light Department from 1948 until he retired in 1983. Fletcher's primary duty from 1971 to 1977 was handling, cutting, installing, and repairing CertainTeed's asbestos-containing cement pipe.

When he cut and beveled the pipes, dust containing asbestos was deposited on his work clothing. At the end of the work day, he wore those clothes home. Marcella Fletcher, Fletcher's daughter, washed his clothes.

After she contracted mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung usually linked to asbestos exposure, she sued CertainTeed in Thomas County State Court, claiming she got the disease, which is often fatal, as a result of her exposure to the asbestos fibers on her father's clothing.

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