We have previously written about the obstructions that can block mesothelioma lawsuits. Sometimes, the problem has to do with whether the claim should be handled in court or in a workers' compensation claim. Other times, state laws protect businesses from asbestos exposure liability under certain conditions.
Recently, a Wisconsin appellate court reinstated parts of an asbestos exposure lawsuit against major companies that include the Miller and Pabst breweries and Wisconsin Electric Power Company. The claims had previously been dismissed under a Wisconsin law that did not apply in this case, the appellate court recently held.
The lawsuit, filed by a Texas woman, alleges that her husband was exposed to asbestos at several industrial sites in Wisconsin between 1996 and 2000 while working as a steamfitter (pipe worker). He later died of mesothelioma.
The state law at issue protects companies from lawsuits for injuries that occur during work to improve properties. The claims against Miller, Pabst and others were originally dismissed under this law.
However, a Wisconsin appellate court overturned that decision, finding that the work done for these companies did not properly constitute property improvement. Rather, the work completed by the steamfitter had been maintenance and repair work. In all, the lawsuit names about a dozen defendants.
This case is a good example of how complex mesothelioma lawsuits can be. They can involve numerous defendants, a myriad of local laws and evidence that is decades old. Thankfully, there are law firms dedicated to helping mesothelioma victims seek justice and compensation.