When 83-year-old Joan Morris of Essex in the United Kingdom was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, her family was both devastated and confused. The rare and fatal form of cancer is cause by exposure to asbestos, and they were not aware of any such exposure she might have had in her life. The illness moved quickly: she began feeling ill in June of 2016, was diagnosed in November, and by March she was gone. Now the family is seeking justice, trying to determine whether her death was a result of years of washing asbestos from her first husband’s work clothing in the years between the mid-1960s and 1970s.
Because Mrs. Morris had no known exposure to asbestos other than from her husband’s clothing, her family and their attorneys believe that she her mesothelioma was caused by second-hand exposure. Her first husband, Donald Merrels, had worked as a tally clerk at Tilbury Docks and each night when he came home she would shake out his dust-covered overalls and wash them for him to wear the next day. There are an unfortunate number of women in the United Kingdom, the United States and other locations whose deaths have been attributed to his simple domestic chore, and her family wants to know if that’s what happened to her and who is to blame. According to their attorney, “While many of the cases we are involved in are related to those who have been directly exposed to asbestos during their working lives, instances when family members have had ‘secondary’ exposure are sadly not uncommon. From our initial investigations we believe that there is a possibility that Joan’s illness may have been caused by contact with her first husband’s work clothes, so would be keen to hear from anyone who could shed light on whether his role at Tilbury Docks could have caused asbestos exposure. We would be hugely grateful to anyone who can help, as any information could prove key to getting this family justice.”
The investigation into Mrs. Morris’ mesothelioma death is focused on identifying the products that her late husband came into contact with: it is known that in his role he was responsible for counting many of the products that came in through the docks, including bags of asbestos powder and asbestos sheeting. If the source can be identified, her family hopes to be able to pursue compensation for their loss from those responsible.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, either through direct contact with asbestos or secondary exposure, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 to learn more.