Mesothelioma Victim’s Memory Lives on in Christmas Lights Display

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 8:56am by

You may have seen this Fountain Valley, California, Christmas lights display when it went viral on YouTube last year. Jan Stewart, the owner of the home that has attracted hundreds of spectators every night, told CBSLA that the “Griswold-esque” display is a tribute to her late husband, Larry. “We said, ‘We gotta do that someday, we gotta do that,’” Jan told CBS. “Last year was the year, and then he didn’t make it.”

Larry Stewart was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2007, and he died on May 15, 2011. Before his death, Larry and his wife sued Union Carbide Corporation, claiming that his cancer was the result of being exposed to chrysotile “Calidria” brand fibers that were mined, milled and sold by Union Carbide. Larry worked in plumbing beginning in 1968, and Reuters reported that he testified that his exposure to Calidria occurred while he worked near drywall tradesmen who sanded and swept up the asbestos dust from joint compounds near him on construction sites from 1972 to 1978.

Union Carbide mined Calidria in the Diablo Mountains north of Coalinga in Central California and refined it at a mill in the Salinas Valley. In 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that “Calidria was used in an array of products, including drilling mud, flooring and joint compound in the United States and concrete blocks in Japan.” At that time, Union Carbide was facing “tens of thousands” of lawsuits that would cost nearly $2 billion to resolve, and the Times noted that analysts said “Union Carbide’s asbestos litigation may not peak for another decade and could continue through 2027.” One company that used Calidria as a thickening agent in its products, Kelly-Moore Paint Co., alleged that Union Carbide “fraudulently promoted Calidria as a uniquely safe alternative to potentially deadly types of asbestos.”

“Larry and his wife always wanted to do something big for Christmas, and I was glad to help make this happen,” family friend Damion Rodriguez told the Fountain Valley Patch. Rodriguez installed the over 56,000 LED lights that are programmed to dance to music, and he told Patch that he hopes to improve upon the display next year to continue honoring Larry’s memory. “Next year we hope to do a better show and start collecting donations for charities such as the American Cancer Society,” Rodriguez told Patch.

You can find additional information about occupations with high risk for mesothelioma by visiting our website. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos, fill out the form on this page or contact our firm at (800) 687-3333 to let our Dallas litigation lawyers review your case.

Stanley Iola, LLP – Dallas litigation attorneys

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