Northeastern Pa. couple files asbestos mass tort claim over husband's lung cancer

Jon Campisi Nov. 30, 2011, 6:30am

A Northeastern Pa. couple have filed a civil claim against a slew of companies that specialize in the design, manufacture and distribution of asbestos-related products, alleging the husband’s lung cancer diagnosis this summer was directly related to his coming into contact with the fiber during his working career.

Bethlehem, Pa. attorney Brian Taylor, of the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos, P.C., filed the mass tort claim Nov. 28 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Lenwood and Margaret Hinkle of Nesquehoning, Pa.

There are more than 50 defendants named in the lawsuit. They include, but are not limited to, CBS Corp., Bayer Cropscience LP, Burnham, LLC, Crane Company, Ford Motor Co., Allied Signal, Inc., Georgia-Pacific Corp. Trust Inc., Goodrich Corp., The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Hobart Brothers Co., Ingersoll Rand Co. and A.W. Chesterton Co.

According to the complaint, Lenwood Hinkle, 67, was diagnosed as having lung cancer on Aug. 25 of this year. He currently suffers from the disease, with symptoms including shortness of breath.

The lawsuit claims that Hinkle was exposed to asbestos dust and fibers sold, manufactured and distributed by the defendants during his professional career.

The complaint also alleges that Hinkle came into contact with asbestos while working for Buddy George in Conyngham, Pa. from 1962 to 1963, and while employed by Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pa. from 1964 to 1998.

Hinkle worked as a boilermaker and steelworker, and engaged in activities such as pipe-covering, packing and insulating. He also worked with sheet material, gaskets, cement, rope, cranes, crane brakes, crane components block, compound, hot tops, boilers and spray, the suit claims.

The Hinkles demand compensatory damages against the defendants in a sum in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorney’s fees and other court costs.

The lawsuit also contains a conspiracy count in which the plaintiffs allege that the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company “conspired with asbestos product manufacturers, distributors and miners to injure Hinkle by providing funding for a study that revealed Canadian asbestos miners suffered from asbestosis and by materially misrepresenting that known fact and in various other ways concealing information and otherwise preventing workers and responsible authorities from learning of the health hazards posed by exposure to asbestos dust and fibers,” the lawsuit states.

For the conspiracy count, the Hinkles also seek compensatory damages in excess of $50,000 and punitive damages in excess of $50,000 plus related costs.

A jury trial is being demanded.

The case number is 111102523.

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