Trial Court’s Exception of Prescription Reversed; Decedent Found to Have no Prior notice of his potential Mesothelioma

LOUISIANA – David Lee’s heirs alleged that he was exposed to asbestos while working in various jobs from the 1950s to the 1970s. Lee had various abdominal issues throughout his life, and had a carcinoid tumor removed in 2008. The final pathology report for the tumor showed well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma. However, Lee was asymptomatic after the tumor removal and never learned of the specific diagnosis. In 2012, Lee suffered more abdominal discomfort, and peritoneal mesothelioma was discovered. Lee passed away that year, and his heirs filed suit against several defendants for survival and wrongful death damages. The defendant, Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, Inc., filed an exception of prescription to the survival action claims, which the trial court granted. The appellate court found that the trial court was “clearly wrong” in its determination, and remanded the matter to the trial court for further proceedings. They held that the facts showed that Lee did not believe that he had cancer related to mesothelioma in 2008, and a reasonable person would not have thought that they had mesothelioma until the 2012 diagnosis.

Read the case decision here.