Asbestos-related death DuPont's fault, suit says

For two decades, Lively Neely went to work at the DuPont plant in Old Hickory. And for two decades, he brought home deadly asbestos dust to his wife, Ruby.   Now their son, Roger Neely, has filed a lawsuit against the company and 20 others that subcontracted at the plant over the years, alleging that the company’s failure to warn its employees of the danger of wearing work clothes out of the plant is responsible for the death of Ruby Neely.   “DuPont failed to provide any type of warnings or instructions about the safe use of asbestos,” said H. Douglas Nichol, the family’s attorney.    “With regard to Mrs. Neely, they were allowing workers to go home with asbestos on their clothing, and didn’t provide change of clothing or showers to prevent that from happening.”    Ruby Neely died this year of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure that typically takes many years to manifest.    According to the lawsuit, information about the dangers of asbestos had been available to the company as early as the 1930s, but they still weren’t informing insulators on the line of the hazards until the 1970s, when many workers had already died of asbestos-related illnesses.    Dan Turner with DuPont public affairs said the company had not seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment on the specifics.    “All DuPont sites adhere to strict applicable federal and state health and safety standards regarding asbestos,” Turner said. “The safety and health of our employees, our neighbors and our community has, and continues to be, DuPont’s highest priority.”   According to the suit, Lively Neely would cut, mold and fit asbestos containing insulation and cement onto the various lines at DuPont. He also died of asbestos-related disease, Nichol said, and had settled a lawsuit with the company in the 1980s.    The Tennessee Supreme Court decided on a similar case last year in which Amanda Satterfield sued Alcoa claiming she was terminally ill from the asbestos dust her father carried home from work. Though the case was initially dismissed, Tennessee’s highest court disagreed and sent the case back for trial.    That case was settled for a confidential amount, said Nichol.

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