In 2016, a woman named Mary Jane Wilde died from complications related to mesothelioma. Her siblings filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Huntington Ingalls, which used to be known as Avondale Shipyards.
Mary’s father worked at Avondale Shipyards for a few years. The lawsuit claims that he was exposed to asbestos at work and that the fibers lingered on his clothing. The siblings allege that Mary came into contact with those fibers on their father’s clothing, which exposed her to asbestos as well. She was later diagnosed with mesothelioma. Avondale allegedly did not warn its employees about the risks of exposure or use proper safety measures.
The procedural history in this case is a little complicated. The siblings originally filed the lawsuit in state court, but Avondale successfully removed the case (had it transferred) to federal court. But the federal district court sent the lawsuit back to state court, finding that it did not have jurisdiction, or the legal authority, to decide the case. A federal appeals court affirmed, and the case is now back in state court.
What Is Mesothelioma and Asbestos?
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the outer lining of the lung and chest as well as the abdominal wall that’s caused by exposure to asbestos. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of people die from mesothelioma every year.
Asbestos minerals are composed of durable fibers that are resistant to fire and many chemicals. Manufacturers had incorporated asbestos into insulation, brake pads and other building materials since the 1800s. Unfortunately, we now know that asbestos can cause significant health problems like mesothelioma if the fibers become airborne and are ingested or inhaled. Asbestos fibers can also linger on clothes, which increases the risk of secondhand exposure.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Louisiana
The following individuals may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Louisiana:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse or children,
- The surviving parent or parents, if there are no spouse or children,
- Any surviving siblings, if there are no surviving parents, or
- Any surviving grandparents, if there are not surviving siblings.
The deadline, or statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death action in Louisiana is only one year from the date of the death. This is different from many states, which generally give wrongful death claimants two to five years to file suit.
Wrongful death claimants may seek both economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages cover measurable losses, like funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, and lost wages and benefits. Noneconomic damages are losses that don’t have a specific monetary value, like pain and suffering and loss of companionship.
An experienced attorney can help determine if you meet these statutory requirements and explain what damages you can seek.
Contact Us Today
Contact Patrick Yancey Law Firm today for a free consultation if you have been diagnosed with, or if a loved one has died from, mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease. Our experienced attorneys will help recover the compensation you deserve.