Retiree Talks About Case Against Alcoa

By: Gordon Boyd
By: Gordon Boyd

Yesterday, we told you about Doug Satterfield, a retiree who will be allowed to sue aluminum giant Alcoa over his exposure to asbestos more than a quarter-century ago.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd met up with the retiree who explained how his re-instated lawsuit could make history, and how it isn't for the money involved, but over who can claim damages.

The man suing hasn't gotten sick. He's not claiming the problem is asbestosis, but mesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the protective lining that covers your internal organs

"Nobody knows but her mother, sister, and I what pain she went through," said Doug Satterfield, a former Alcoa employee.

For more than three years, Satterfield tried to get Alcoa to take blame for the asbestos residue he brought home on his work clothes when his daughter Amanda was a baby. Residue he claims sprouted the tumors that killed her more than twenty years later.

"That's hard enough right there, you're a part of your daughter's death," He said.

"There's no law like this in Tennessee whereby an employer has a duty to a non-employee household member," said Greg Coleman, Satterfield's attorney

Alcoa used that argument to get a Blount County Court to rule it couldn't be sued, but Satterfield claims Alcoa knew at least five years before he started working there that asbestos exposure could harm workers families.

He says though the company knew the danger, they provided no warnings, protections, or remedies.

"I know a lot of people rolled it up in balls and threw it at each other," Satterfield said, "some people it affects"

Given such claims, a Tennessee Appeals court says Alcoa should have understood that someone in close contact with the residue would have a "reasonably foreseeable probability of injury." That means that Satterfield can sue after all.

"Hopefully, people will realize from this that asbestos is dangerous," Satterfield said.

A spokesperson says only that Alcoa considers the suit without merit. The company now has 30 days to decide if it should appeal the case to Tennessee's Supreme Court, go to trial, or try to settle.

"Right now its my intention and Mr. Satterfield's attention to push on to trial," Coleman said.

Even if he loses, Doug says it'll be his daughter's victory.

"She was a fighter, she fought for a year and a half," he said. "Amanda will stand for something."


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