Bill Hornsby, age 64, loved car races. In fact, he met his wife of 38 years, Geneva, at the races one night. It was love at first sight. However, Bill and Geneva’s life together took a devastating turn when doctors diagnosed Geneva with lung cancer in 1998. Although her health forced her to sell the mortgage/escrow company she started, after undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, Geneva Hornsby, age 70, managed to survive lung cancer.
Doctors have confirmed that Geneva’s lung cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos as a result of shaking out and washing Bill’s work clothes. From 1955 to 1993, Bill worked as an acoustic ceiling installer in California. As an acoustical ceiling installer, Bill worked at approximately 1,500 different jobsites including hospitals, medical centers, office buildings, and schools. He also performed drywall work as an acoustical ceiling installer, which resulted in the gathering of dust on his clothes from asbestos-containing joint compounds, as well as asbestos-containing pipes and pipe covering.
Bill wore a different outfit to work everyday due to the accumulation of dust on his clothes. Geneva testified that she did laundry around 2-3 times per week, doing 3-4 loads each time. She said that his clothes were so dusty that when she shook them out that she would start coughing.
Bill and Geneva’s life together seemed to resume some normalcy after dealing with Geneva’s potentially fatal lung cancer. They continued to enjoy spending time together, as well as with their 7 children and 8 grandchildren. Their happiness seemed short-lived, however, when doctors diagnosed Bill with mesothelioma in March 2003. Three weeks later, Mr. Hornsby died of complications related to his mesothelioma. He left behind 5 children, 2 step-children, and his wife of 38 years, Geneva.
In April 2005 Geneva, teamed with attorneys from Waters Kraus Paul & Siegel, brought suit against Kaiser Gypsum Company, Inc., and other responsible defendants claiming that the companies were negligent and liable for placing dangerous products into the stream of commerce and failing to warn of the dangers associated with their product. The case was successfully settled after trial started.