A wrongful death lawsuit filed in New York more than five years ago has come to a close in a St. Lawrence County Supreme Court. The suit ended in a confidential settlement.
Patricia A. Langevin filed the lawsuit in 2013 on behalf of her late 80-year-old husband, Frank P. Langevin. Newton Falls and R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc., which has as manufacturing facility in Gouverneur, were named in the lawsuit.
Mr. Langevin was an employee of Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. and Gouverneur Iron Works. He operated a steel erector business, known as P.A. Langevin Inc., for 28 years, according to his obituary.
The complaint states that Mr. Langevin died from mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, which was distributed through the named parties.
A settlement was reached in the case after three days of jury selection, and on the day opening statements were expected to take place.
In 2015, the state Supreme Court ordered R.T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc. to pay $10.55 million in a civil judgment stemming from asbestos-contaminated talc that was mined in the 1970s at Gouverneur Talc.
The jury rendered its judgment after a three-week trial.
That suit was brought forth by the family of Richard G. Chrisholm in 2012, claiming that the man’s mesothelioma was caused by asbestos exposure in high school while working a summer job.
The complaint lodged by Langevin accuses the companies of knowingly engaging in the sale and distribution of products and materials containing asbestos and asbestiform fibers. Ms. Langevin states that her husband was “unavoidably exposed” to the material, which he “inhaled and ingested” while working with those products in some capacity.
That exposure, according to Mrs. Langevin, is what caused her husband’s mesothelioma and death. She alleges that the companies had knowledge of the danger of asbestos, but that they had done nothing to warn or protect him against exposure.
It is common for steel workers to be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, as it was used to insulate against fire and heat.