Pennsylvania Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Stone grinder who alleged chemical exposure led to hard metal lung disease dismissed his own case

State Court

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jan 24, 2020

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PITTSBURGH – A Westmoreland County man who sued eight corporate defendants in having alleged that he was exposed to tungsten and cobalt carbide while he worked as a stone grinder voluntarily dismissed his own case last year.

On April 10, plaintiff Edward Douglas chose to dismiss his own case without prejudice, shortly after filing it. It was one in a series of such lawsuits filed by his Pittsburgh-based lawyer who blamed cobalt and tungsten carbide for hard metal lung disease.

Douglas, of Latrobe, first filed suit on March 21 in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and named as defendants Basic Carbide of Buena Vista, H.B. Carbide Co. of Lewiston, Mich., Castlebar of Canton, Ohio, Leech Carbide of Meadville, Ultra Carbide of New Hudson, Mich., Cerazit USA of Michigan, Hydro Carbide of Latrobe and Ultra-Met of Urbana, Ohio.

Per the complaint, “During the period of January 2013 through May 2013, on a daily basis while working with and in the vicinity of others working with tungsten carbide and cobalt containing products that were manufactured and/or produced and/or distributed and/or sold and/or supplied by defendants, plaintiff was exposed to and caused to inhale and/or ingest and/or absorb through the eyes and/or skin, the fumes and/or gases and/or vapors and/or dusts which were released from said products during the products intended use.”

Douglas claimed he noticed health issues related to the metals exposure four years later.

“On April 17, 2017, plaintiff underwent a wedge resection of the right upper, middle and lower lung lobes. He was informed on or about May 1, 2017 that he was suffering from hard metal lung disease related to his work place exposure. This was the first time plaintiff knew or should have known that he was suffering from a lung disease related to the products used in his work environment,” the complaint said.

Douglas’ attorney, Kelly Enders of Caroselli Beachler & Coleman in Pittsburgh, told the Pennsylvania Record last year that she had “filed other cases in the past on behalf of workers that developed hard metal lung disease from their occupational exposure to dust and fumes from tungsten carbide and cobalt-containing products.”

At the time, she sustained that medicine recognizes such contamination.

“The medicine is well-settled that this disease process affects people exposed to dust/mist from hard metal products. The disease has been known by various names: hard metal pneumoconiosis, tungsten carbide pneumoconiosis, hard metal lung, giant cell interstitial pneumonitis (GIP), and cobalt lung,” Enders said.

However, the plaintiff opted to dismiss his own case three weeks after filing it. An amended or re-filed version of the lawsuit has not appeared in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

The plaintiff was represented by Kelly Enders of Caroselli Beachler & Coleman, in Pittsburgh

The defendants were represented by Jamie L. Lenzi of Cipriani & Werner, Miles A. Kirshner of Margolis Edelstein, Jason M. Logue of Davies McFarland & Carroll, John Michael Polena and John O’Brien of Walsh Barnes Collins & Zumpella, all in Pittsburgh, plus Peter C. Kennedy of McGivney & Kluger, in Philadelphia.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-19-004161

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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CAROSELLI BEACHLER MCTIERNAN & CONBOY

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