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Mesothelioma Lawyer

The First Mesothelioma Lawyer: Ward Stephenson

Ward Stephenson, a well known personal injury attorney from Orange, Texas, filed the first mesothelioma lawsuit on behalf of his client Claude Tomplait in December 1966, in the town of Beaumont, Texas, becoming the first mesothelioma lawyer in the U.S.

Tomplait was an asbestos insulator from nearby Lake Charles, Louisiana. After years of dedicated labor, he developed an illness that his doctors labeled “pulmonary dust disease.” Today, this disease is known as mesothelioma. In order to cover his high medical expenses, Tomplait filed a lawsuit against eleven different asbestos companies, including Johns-Manville and Owens-Corning.

Stephenson took on his new role as a mesothelioma attorney with dedication and vigor. He built a meticulous case demonstrating that these companies had let down their employees through a failure to warn them about the dangers of the materials they worked with. (Asbestos had been linked to lung disease as early as the 1920’s, but it was still a commonly used material.) Today, failure to warn is the basis of most mesothelioma lawsuits against corporations.

Unfortunately, it would still be years before the issue of mesothelioma caused by asbestos was taken seriously. Ultimately, five of the defendants in Stephenson’s case settled out of court, paying a combined total of $75,000. Five more defendants were dropped from the complaint, and a jury found in favor of the one remaining defendant.

Ward Stephenson did not stop there, however. He saw that by working as a mesothelioma attorney, he could help workers injured by dangerous materials at their jobs gain the compensation they deserved. Stephenson went on to represent a new client, Claude Borel, in 1973. He won that case, striking a blow for mesothelioma patients around the country.

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If you have been injured by exposure to asbestos at your workplace, contact a mesothelioma lawyer from the Williams Hart law firm at 800-781-3955 to discuss your options.

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