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Man blames mesothelioma on protective clothing

Donald Maclachlan of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against American Optical Corp., claiming the company’s protective gear he wore for years as part of his job as a steel plant cast house helper contained asbestos and is responsible for his malignant mesothelioma.

American Optical’s motion to dismiss the case was recently denied by a district judge.

Memories of asbestos

Maclachlan was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in 2014. He says the protective coats, gloves, leggings and hoods he wore while working near a blast furnace were all made by American Optical. He says he remembers that the lining of the coats eventually wore down and later, when he saw a training video about asbestos pipe insulation, it looked just like the lining of the coat he wore for years.

American Optical’s motion to dismiss the case was based on the idea that Maclachlan had no proof his illness was caused by their protective gear. District Judge Christopher Boyko overruled the motion, saying it is up to a jury to determine the facts of the case and whether Maclachlan is correct in his argument that the company had a duty to warn users of its product.

Asbestos in garments

Raw asbestos can be woven into cloths and garments to make them resistant to high temperatures, flames and corrosive substances. Asbestos was often used in clothing for:

  • Firefighters
  • Foundry workers
  • Furnace operators
  • Glass workers
  • Pipefitters
  • Shipbuilders
  • Steel mill workers
  • Textile mill workers
  • U.S. Navy personnel

Unfortunately, the products were not indestructible and could be cut or torn, exposing the asbestos fibers.

While firefighters, foundry workers and shipbuilders are at risk, the workers most at risk from asbestos in textiles was mill workers and others who worked with the cloth. Lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers by people who routinely cut asbestos cloth for years and who later were diagnosed with mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestosis or mesothelioma, consult with a qualified, experienced attorney who can give you measured advice on how to proceed.

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