Vidalia residents file lawsuit over asbestos

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Willie Laird doesn’t know the particulars of a lawsuit his wife and another plaintiff have filed against asbestos manufacturers and suppliers — he just knows she’s sick.

&uot;She has a lot of coughing,&uot; Laird said about his wife, Carolyn, who was diagnosed with asbestosis on May 31. &uot;I don’t know how much of that is due to the asbestos. I&160;just want this settled.&uot;

The 74-year-old man knows how his wife feels. Although he is not listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, an abnormal X-ray led to him being diagnosed with asbestosis about one year ago. He has been exposed to asbestos throughout his working life and has some trouble breathing.

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&uot;I’m no doctor, … but I&160;know it can cause you some problems,&uot; Laird said of asbestosis, in which inhalation of asbestos causes lung scarring and thickening that makes it increasingly difficult to breathe.

Carolyn Laird and Earl McQuarters of Vidalia, the latter of whom was diagnosed with asbestosis on March 11, 2000, filed suit last week against four makers and suppliers of materials containing asbestos.

In the complaint, they charged they were not warned of or protected from the dangers of asbestos.

They are also suing an insurance company listed in the lawsuit as an underwriter for the asbestos industry. Laird and McQuarters and their attorneys, Patrick Malouf and Timothy Porter of Jackson, all refused to comment.

Defendants include Owens-Illinois Inc., based in Toledo, Ohio; Combustion Engineering Inc., based in Windsor, Connecticut; Reilly Benton Co., based in New Orleans; Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., based in New York; and McCarty Corp., listed as being based in Port Allen, La.

No listing could be found for McCarty Corp., while spokesmen for the other four companies could not be reached for comment.