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Merlin Olsen Suit: Asbestos Caused My Cancer

12/31/2009 11:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Football legend Merlin Olsen is suing NBC Studios, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Sherwin Williams, Lennox Industries and other companies, claiming he developed a rare form of cancer as a result of being negligently exposed to asbestos.


Olsen -- who gained fame as a member of the Los Angeles Rams and went on to be a sportscaster, actor and spokesperson for FTD Florists -- was diagnosed with the rare asbestos cancer mesothelioma a few months ago.

According to the lawsuit, filed today in L.A. County Superior Court, Olsen worked after school doing manual labor when he was 10 or 11 and was exposed to asbestos.

Olsen claims he was exposed to asbestos later in life when he was doing drywall. Olsen also worked at NBC and 20th Century FOX and is alleging those companies negligently exposed him to asbestos.

Olsen, who is undergoing chemotherapy, claims in the suit that all of the defendants, "were engaged in the business of manufacturing, fabricating, designing, assembling, distributing, leasing, buying, selling, inspecting, servicing, installing, repairing, marketing, warranting and advertising a certain substance the generic name of which is asbestos."

Olsen says in the lawsuit that mesothelioma "is a vicious, painful, and invariably fatal malignancy" and there is no known cure.

Olsen and his wife Susan are suing for unspecified damages.

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45 COMMENTS

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1.

edwardo    

sounds like he needs money

1684 days ago
2.

Lifestrand.net    

Memorial for Merlin Olsen. Express your feelings

http://lifestrand.net/Merlin_Olsen

1684 days ago
3.

concerned citizen    

Mesothelioma is a completely preventable disease with only one scientifically accepted cause - asbestos exposure. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Period. Even the current OSHA permissible level will result in excess levels of mesothelioma. Read their regs. The more you are exposed, the greater your risk of developing this horrible disease. Each exposure, like what Merlin Olsen experienced, increases that risk. They compound upon each other, and it normally takes 30, 40, even 50 years from the 1st exposure for mesothelioma to develop. The knowledge of the dangers of asbestos go back to the early 1900's. The knowledge was hidden by the companies that made, sold, used and distributed asbestos. Drywall compounds didn't have warnings about these dangers, though the companies knew. Did you use any joint compound prior to 1978? If so, it probably contained asbestos. Did you know that? Merlin Olsen didn't. How can you be responsible for exposing yourself to something you don't know is there and don't know is dangerous? Go read "Outrageous Misconduct." Go look at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization's website. Go look at OSHA's website. Go look at NIOSH's website. Do some research before you decide Merlin Olsen is "sue happy". I guarantee you, if your family member ever gets this awful, preventable disease, you will think otherwise, b/c your family member will die a miserable death. There is no cure. Even with remission, which is rare, there is an 80% chance it will come back. I can't speak to the liability of all the parties sued, b/c I don't know all the facts. But if people were exposed by companies, any companies, who had knowledge of these dangers and didn't warn about them, then those companies need to be held accountable. My sincere condolences go out to his family today. I hope they can educate the public about what happened to him.

1684 days ago
4.

lane    

Sounds like Mr. Olsen has cancer of the BRAIN too! I think he needs to be praying to God instead of being SUE happy!

1754 days ago
5.

JackieMichele    

Happy new year to you too!

1754 days ago
6.

Amanda Tredinick    

My father in-law was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma (stg 2) in 2008. He also contracted disease from exposure to work hazard asbestos. He has received treatment at Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo NY. He is now in remission. He also had a lawsuit for his disease, and won. My prayers and wishes go out to him and his family. If TMZ could give him info on Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Dr. Demi was surgeon and oncologist, also, if there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Amanda

1754 days ago
7.

GREG MOORE    

take the duch bags for all thay got omg so sad hit theam in the pockets do it for your famliey greg moore from the jersy shore wildwood nj

1754 days ago
8.

Chappaquiddick    

I am sorry for his pain and suffering, but his lawsuit will go nowhere.

1754 days ago
9.

itsme    

how could he be suing NBC for his cancer when he stated that he was exposed to asbestos as a child and when he was doing drywall? i feel sorry for him that he has cancer but to try and sue NBC for causing it it sounds crazy.

1754 days ago
10.

evil kitty    

Nobody forced this guy to install drywall or to do after school work when he was 10 years old...except maybe his parents, so why not take responsibility for your own problems? What's next, suing the states because of the air you breath in is polluted? He chose to work in those professions and should have made his own decision if it was safe or not. Sounds like he'll next sue the NFL for brain damage!!
We're all gonna die from something...get over it!!

1754 days ago
11.

oneal    

i hope he wins. all of the companies named in that suit deserve it. payback's a bitch, revenge is sweet.

1754 days ago
12.

JackieMichele    

Hear, hear Disgusted.

1754 days ago
13.

Steve    

This is sad. Olsen was a true great on the field. He anchored the Rams Fearsome Foursome. Rosey Grier, Lamar Lundy and Deacon Jones. Unlike most of the players in the NFL he had class and played fair. It's a suck deal that he has cancer. If it does take him its a waste to see him die while locked in a legal battle. I'd rather see him go out in a much different way. Best of luck #74.

1754 days ago
14.

xcalibur    

I REMEMBER THIS DUDE FROM LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. THOT HE DIED ALREADY. APPEARS ANOTHER ED MCMAHON TYPE BATTLE WHERE THE GUY DIES WITH LAWSUITS GOIN ON. SUCKS ALL AROUND. HE'S ONLY 70, THOT HE WAS MUCH OLDER.

1754 days ago
15.

jonhomesclock    

Saw a post recommending natural treatment that was censored. Is TMZ a shill for Big Pharma? Seems Merlin is doomed to standard medicine snake oil treatment which helps you die and does not cure you. Sad.

1754 days ago
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