Oregon Mesothelioma Patient Settles Case for $5.6 Million

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Mesothelioma case settled for total $5.6 million dollars after law firm of Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason successfully represents 66 year-old Oregon resident. Linda O'Donnell had been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos contaminated dry talcs used as an ingredient in ceramics created in Mrs. O'Donnell's teaching and manufacturing business.

In late 2006, Linda O'Donnell, a 66 year-old Oregon resident, was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the abdomen usually associated with exposure to asbestos.

Mrs. O'Donnell owned two small ceramics teaching and manufacturing businesses, first in Southern California and later in Portland, Oregon, from 1973 to 1993. She hired Clapper, Patti, Schweizer & Mason, a Sausalito, California law firm, to investigate her potential exposures to asbestos. They determined that many of the dry talcs Mrs. O'Donnell used as an ingredient of her ceramics were contaminated with asbestos. The contaminated talcs were mined by various companies in Death Valley, California, where asbestos was a common contaminant in the commercially mined talc deposits. Mrs. O'Donnell and her husband, Reginald O'Donnell, filed suit against several manufacturers and suppliers of the talcs in San Francisco Superior Court (Case No. CGC-07-274117). The case settled with the last remaining defendant on October 10, 2007, just before the start of trial. The case settled for a total of $5.6 million dollars.

Expert witnesses retained by Clapper, Patti, Schweizer and Mason testified in deposition that the Death Valley talcs used by Mrs. O'Donnell invariably contained a small percentage of tremolite asbestos, a form of asbestos known to be particularly carcinogenic. Documents obtained from the talc mining companies showed that they were aware of their asbestos problem in the early 70s, and that they regularly tested their talc to monitor its asbestos content. Countless Americans were exposed to tremolite asbestos while pursuing ceramics as a hobby during the 1970s and 1980s. The talcs were mixed with dry clay and water to form "ceramic slip," a liquid clay mixture that was poured into molds to dry. The talc used in the slip usually came in 50 pound sacks, which were dumped into a hopper for mixing, creating clouds of dust and intense asbestos exposures. After the dried ceramic figures were removed from molds, they were sanded to prepare them for glazing and firing, resulting in additional exposure to asbestos dust. Mrs. O'Donnell engaged in these activities on a daily basis throughout her ceramics career.

Malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed in 3,000 to 4,000 Americans per year and is usually fatal within 18 months of diagnosis, experts say. The cancer usually occurs in the lining of the lung, known as the pleura. More rarely, the cancer occurs in the abdomen and is called peritoneal mesothelioma. The only known cause of malignant mesothelioma is exposure to the mineral asbestos. Thousands of people are being robbed of their golden years because of this deadly asbestos-related disease that for decades had been swept under the rug by companies that hid the dangers of asbestos.

For more information on this case or on asbestos litigation generally, please visit http://www.mesothelioma-attorney.com.

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