NACHITOCHES– Two Louisiana law firms recently won a $7 million verdict for the death of Myra Williams on behalf of her family. Louisiana firms Baggett McCall and Unglesby Law Firm represented the family in the take-home exposure asbestos case, which concluded April 29 at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse.
Local Natchitoches attorney Bill Townsend with Kelly & Townsend LLC tried the case.District Judge Lala Sylvester ruled in the case.
Williams died from mesothelioma, a disease exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos. It was proven that Ms. Williams came in contact with asbestos through the handling of her husband’s clothes. Jimmy Williams, Myra’s husband, worked around asbestos while employed at Placid Oil Co.
According to the verdict, in order to do his work at Placid Oil Co., Mr. Williams was required to crawl allover asbestos-insulated machinery. “This caused asbestos dust and fibers to accumulate on his clothing,which he wore home on a daily basis to be laundered by Myra Williams,” the verdict states.
It was determined that Ingersoll-Rand was at fault in causing Ms. Williams’ mesothelioma and liable for her and her family’s resulting damages. Ingersoll-Rand provided compressors containing asbestos to Placid Oil. Mr. Williams worked at Placid Oil changing gaskets and removing insulation.
Workers testified that the removal of insulation and the vibration of the compressors would create asbestos dust in the compressor room, which was visible to the naked eye. One worker testified that you could not put a cup of coffee on any of the machines without it spilling because of the vibrations. It was proven that by the 1950s, Ingersoll-Rand was aware of the dangers of asbestos but did not place warnings on its compressors. Workers like Mr. Williams were unaware of the dangers of working with asbestos and unaware that asbestos fibers on their clothes could injure their families.
Myra’s four children each received $750,000 for the death of their mother. “Myra’s children were extremely close to her, and it was an honor to represent them,” said Lance Unglesby of Baton Rouge-based Unglesby Law Firm.
“Take-home asbestos exposure will continue to harm families across America due to the negligence of companies that failed to properly protects workers,” said Jeff Gaughan, partner with Lake Charles-based Baggett McCall Law Firm. “We are honored to have represented the Williams family and proud to bring them justice for their unimaginable grieving, pain and suffering.”
The verdict marks another record-breaking asbestos trial result for Baggett McCall and UnglesbyLaw Firm. Collectively, the two firms are responsible for the two highest survival action mesotheliomaverdicts in the state—Dorothy White v. Entergy, which resulted in a $3.8 million survival actionmesothelioma verdict and Sadie Mae Terrance v. Exxon, which resulted in a $5 million survival actionmesothelioma verdict. In addition, Baggett McCall had the first asbestos case decided by the Louisiana
Supreme Court, and the firm’s $17 million cancer verdict is the largest Louisiana verdict for any cancer victim.