Recently, a federal appeals court ruled that a former Raytheon Co. plant
worker, Suzanne Genereux, and her family will be allowed to proceed with
their lawsuit against three beryllium manufacturers. The plaintiffs allege
that these manufacturers supplied Raytheon Co. with products that contained
beryllium, which caused the plant worker’s chronic beryllium disease (CBD).
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit explained that, “After
careful review of the record, we conclude that a reasonable jury could
find that the plaintiffs’ common-law claims were timely and that
the sophisticated user defense did not relieve the defendants of liability.”
Attorney Rubin Honik, who is representing the victim and her family, is
glad that they will have the chance to prosecute the case.
According to the district court, the statute of limitations began running
when Genereux first consulted her doctor about a potential CBD infection
and ended just three days before she filed her lawsuit. The question here
is whether or not she had sufficient notice that her CBD was caused by
the beryllium manufacturers’ conduct. Before she was diagnosed,
Genereux might have contributed the symptoms to asthma.
In the mid-1980’s she had been hospitalized on several different
occasions for asthma and upper respiratory illnesses. It wasn’t
until 2002 that she was diagnosed with CBD.