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Business owners may face liability for Ohio man's lung disease

When it comes to premises liability, property owners in Ohio have all sorts of issues to think about. But instead of driving themselves crazy with worry, property owners should focus on awareness and prevention. It's impossible to eliminate the risk of every single unsafe condition or injury, but once an owner becomes aware of a potential risk, it is important to then take the necessary steps to remedy the problem.

One risk that may be difficult for property owners to determine is the effect of unsafe or unhealthy products on the premises. Even with the insidious nature of these products, owners may still be liable if someone becomes sick or injured due to exposure to the products.

This is what one Ohio couple claims in a lawsuit that they have brought against 42 different companies, which they claim all contributed to the husband's lung injuries. The man was diagnosed with asbestosis and pleural plaques. He now alleges that the defendants all exposed him to products that contained asbestos during his work years. He was employed in various forms over the course of roughly forty years as a laborer and mixer.

The case against the defendants is based on very standard theories of negligence, as well as contaminated buildings, conspiracy and breach of warranty, among others. However, the claim also involves allegations against certain defendants for their role as premises owners. The couple hopes to have a jury hear the case, but for now, a judge is presiding over the matter.

While property owners cannot be expected to know the dangers of every chemical or substance present, this story is a good wake up call. Contaminated buildings do fall under the spectrum of premises liability and if owners have even the slightest concern that something is unsafe, the issue should be addressed. On the flip side, parties who are injured due to an owner's failure to act also may be able to recover damages.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Ohio couple name 42 defendants in asbestos suit," Kyla Asbury, June 6, 2013

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