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Silicosis Lawsuit Results in $7.6M Verdict for Former Sandblaster

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits
  • 5 Comments

A former sandblaster has been awarded $7.6 million against Mississippi Valley Silica Co. Inc. after contracting silicosis, an incurable lung disease caused by exposure to silica particles at his former job.

The silicosis lawsuit was filed by Robert Eastman, who developed a severe case of the disease after working as a sandblaster between 1963 and 1978. The sand used in sandblasting at the facility was provided by Mississippi Valley Silica, and Eastman alleged that the company knew that their product could cause potentially fatal silicosis, and failed to take steps to protect workers or provide adequate warnings.

Following a trial in Warren County, Miss., a jury awarded Eastman $7.6 million in compensation. According to a report in the Clarion Ledger, the Silicosis lawsuit was the first such case to go to trial in Mississippi.

Silicosis, also known as Potter’s Rot, is caused by overexposure to crystalline silica particles which the lungs cannot expel by coughing or mucus once inhaled. Scar tissue develops around the particles in the lungs and reduces the ability of the lungs to pull oxygen from the air. Silica exposure has also been associated with bronchitis, tuberculosis and lung cancer.

Silicosis is most common among industrial workers, particularly sandblasters, rock drillers, stone cutters, masons, miners and glass manufacturers, making it one of the oldest known industrial-related diseases in the world.

The disease is more common in developing countries than in the United States; however, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about one million workers in the U.S. are exposed to silica dust. Estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Labor and WHO place the number of U.S. silicosis-related deaths at between 150 and 300 annually.

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5 comments

  1. Janice Reply

    My husband was a sandblaster and died of silocosis 23 years ago. He went through everything described in the article. I just received a letter from lawyers in Mississippi stating that they could not take the lawsuit that I tried to file..The law suit did state that the individual had to work in the silica dust for five years but my husband had full blown silocosis in three years and died while our childern were in college. Needless to say, it was hard without his support. I also deeply regret not having him here for our grandchildren?

  2. Gwen Reply

    I experienced the same reply from a law firm in MS about having to work at the plant five years or the they could not take the case. My husband contracted silicosis after working three years at General Motors. He worked on what they call the block room, knocking scrap off the engines. He said the room was thick with “fiberglass” particles in the air. He eventually became so ill that he ended up being taken off the job. He’s had breathing pockets removed and endless lung conditions over the past forty plus years. He just recently died of lung cancer. There must be others out there who suffered and are going through the same thing.

  3. sharon Reply

    my husband passed away in 2008 from silicosis he got from working at cement plant in Ocean Springs Mississippi the Blossmen plant.i havent known what to do and this is the first time ive reached out .

  4. John Reply

    Please contact me

  5. Jon Reply

    I have been recently diagnosed with silicosis from working at a concrete plant in Florida. We manufactured pavers for driveways and the dust was always around. Needless to say this was during the time of 2000-2012 and I worked there during the “not so safe” years. I’ve been told to reach out to a legal team in regards to this but do not know where to start. I quit working there in 2012 and began working offshore. But now it looks as if my tenure offshore may be coming to a halt as I may not pass the next physical should my condition worsen. This concerns me as I do not know where to go from here. Any help would be appreciated.

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