Asbestos Suit Names CBS and GE as Defendants

The widow of television and movie actor Ed Lauter has filed suit against CBS Corp, Ford Motor Co, and General Electric (“GE”). This suit is fascinating because it illustrates how one’s workplace can be the source of deadly asbestos exposure. Asbestos suits are complicated processes because it is often difficult to determine when and where asbestos exposure occurred. This is made even more complicated by the fact that asbestos related illnesses can take years to arise, often after exposure has ended. Determining when and where asbestos exposure occurred involves an examination of the patient’s past living locations, and also other places where they spent significant time, and thus could have been exposed to asbestos. A great location to investigate to determine asbestos exposure is often the person’s previous places of employment, especially because asbestos exposure is often found in industrial and commercial spaces.

The Lauter Case

Ed Lauter was a famous actor who appeared in television shows including, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, The X-Files,” “ER,” “Charlie’s Angels,”  “The Office” and “Magnum P.I.” He was also known for his roles in movies including “The Artist,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Seabiscuit,” and “The Longest Yard.” In May 2013, Lauter was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma; five months later Lauter died from the disease at the age of 74 on October 13, 2013. Lauter’s widow Mia Lauter has filed suit against GE and CBS claiming that the exposure to asbestos he experienced during his two decades of television work led to his pleural mesothelioma and subsequent death. Presumably GE, was included in the suit because GE used to own NBC, a network that Lauter worked for on an assortment of television shows.

How and when Lauter was exposed to asbestos is unclear. This is because the details of the complaint have not yet been released. However, Lauter worked heavily in television during the 1980s, which was the decade during which asbestos use was widespread. In fact, asbestos during this time period was present in thousands of materials used in industrial, commercial and domestic settings. Furthermore, the inclusion of Ford Motor Co., is probably due to the fact that auto parts are known for having extremely dangerous and high levels of asbestos. However, auto repairmen are way more likely to succumb to asbestos exposure because they directly handled asbestos-contaminated auto products.

Other Asbestos Exposure Lawsuits Against Television Networks

Mia Lauter’s suit isn’t the first to draw in big name corporations as defendants for asbestos related deaths. In 2011, Merlin Olsen, a Football Hall of Famer and sports broadcaster sued NBC and Twentieth Century Fox claiming that he had been exposed to asbestos during his television career. In the complaint it was stated that Olsen’s mesothelioma was the result of “significant cumulative lifetime exposure to many asbestos products, including heavy equipment parts.”

Similarly, both CBS and GE have been named as defendants in a variety of mesothelioma lawsuits because they either created or utilized products containing asbestos in their numerous nationwide facilities. In fact, in 2008 CBS was sued for its licensing of The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Fingerprint Examination Kit, a toy mirrored off of “CSI” a CBS crime show.  It was revealed that the kit was actually contaminated with high levels of asbestos, because powder contained within the kit had as much as 7.2 percent of tremolite asbestos, which is an extremely toxic type of asbestos.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk of developing serious health conditions such as lung cancer or pleural mesothelioma. Contact an experienced asbestos attorney today to discuss your options.


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