The era of unmitigated environmental damage from harmful products and emissions is over, but Louisiana still suffers the consequences of old problems. Asbestos, a fibrous material connected to lung cancer and other respiratory problems, is still the subject of lawsuits in the Bayou State.
A former pipefitter who worked for a major manufacturer of environmental control products filed a suit against his former employer, which claimed exposure to asbestos and products that contained it during the course of his work. This added to the largest and most expensive body of tort law in United States history.
But his case did not end with the award of damages for his claim. A dispute continued between two of the defendants in the suit, with one arguing that their liability no longer existed because the other was contractually obligated to fulfill judgments like the pipefitter's claim. This guarantee is often referred to as "indemnity" in legal and corporate circles.
The Louisiana Court of Appeals recently ended the saga by awarding a judgment on behalf of the manufacturer. The court determined that the language in the contract that guaranteed the indemnity was clear and one of the defendants was not liable to pay claims to the pipefitter.
The course to closure for asbestos-related claims by people who suffered health problems can be complicated and long. This may be especially difficult for some plaintiffs who are still dealing with illness.
An attorney may be one of the most helpful allies during an asbestos health problem lawsuit. Legal representation can identify possible defendants for a lawsuit, merge a claim into a class action lawsuit for greater efficiency and counsel clients through the entire process.