Lake Charles
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Baton Rouge
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Ruling changed by appeals court in wrongful death case

When most residents go to work, they do not expect to develop a deadly illness. According to Business Insurance, this is exactly what happened to a man who died of silicosis after working for 39 years for an iron and steel company. His wife attempted to sue his former employer, but the company filed for bankruptcy after a jury awarded her over $1 million for a negligent-failure-to-warn claim.

Because the company had already ceased operations in 1978, they only currently exist through insurance carries. The current insurance company attempted to reverse the decision by claiming that the policies they sold to the company did not provide coverage for the judgment. After the jury verdict, a Louisiana state court agreed and granted the judgment.

At this point, the woman was not informed of the decision, and when the insurance company attempted to force the issue in another state, the district court granted it. A three-judge appeals court panel recently overturned this appeal because they determined that the woman was not a party to any of the court action in Louisiana. The lower court’s decision was vacated, and the ruling stated that she was not bound by any prior judgement.

The insurance companies have been bought and sold several times over the decades and this may have contributed to the legal confusion and problems the woman has dealt with since her husband died. It is unclear if the woman has collected any part of her settlement, but the personal injury case is now set to move forward based on its merits.

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Lake Charles, LA 70601-4337

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