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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.

For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!
45 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

jr    

My dad has mesothelioma, without a doubt the worst most agonizing way to die. He deserves every penny, the asbestos companies were negligent, years went by before finally admitting the product was dangerous. This is one example where lawsuits actually worked to make the world a safer place.

1724 days ago
32.

lisa    

I'm so very sorry to hear that Merlin Olsen has an incurable cancer. I enjoyed him so much in the Little House episodes. My best wishes and prayers to him and his family.

1724 days ago
33.

Steve    

He probably caught it playing for the Aggies. They are a cancer.

1724 days ago
34.

Suzanne    

Reading some of these comments really makes me questions what this world is coming to. The negativity and bashing are truly disheartening. My father had mesothelioma and died as a result. The person who said the we are entitled to work in a safe environment is correct and if the companies do not provide that then they should pay for their negligence. My father contracted it from his work place, a claim was put in thru Worker's compensation and a settlement was provided. We did not fight for it, we took what they gave, which was substantial and include a monthly pension for my mother. The money doesn't make the loss any easier (my father passed away before the settlement came). It was quite emotional getting the money, we cried and wished that we had my father back.

1724 days ago
35.

Terri    

I LOST MY FATHER TO MESOTHELIOMA !!!!! MOST OF YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MESO IS AND WHAT PATIENTS AND FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE TO GO THRU WITH THIS DISEASE (NOT LUNG CANCER).....UNLESS YOU HAVE GONE THRU THIS DISEASE WITH A FRIEND OR FAMILY KEEP YOUR COMMENTS TO YOURSELF......IT'S NOT THE LAWSUITS THAT ARE HURTING AMERICA ITS ALL THE GREEDY SELF-SERVING MONEY HUNGRY CORP EXEC WHO USE PRODUCTS THAT THEY KNOW WILL KILL PEOPLE BUT DON'T CARE ALL IN THE NAME OF "GREED"......THEY KEPT MAKING PRODUCTS USING ASBESTOS MATERIALS EVEN KNOW THEY WERE TOLD THAT IT WOULD CAUSE A FORM OF CANCER.....THAT'S LIKE GIVING SOMEONE A SLOW ACTING POSION SO YOU CAN MAKE AN EXTRA BUCK!!!

1724 days ago
36.

Amanda Tredinick    

People need to stop judging someone so quickly. This is not a case of slip and fall lawsuit. This is from employers negligence. Back in the day, manufacturers knew asbestos was dangerous, but they never warned anyone working with it. IT IS the fault of the employers and manufacturers of the products. As for suing being a lost cause...IT'S NOT. My Father in law WON the biggest lawsuit for asbestos exposure in the past 20 years. Here is the website that discusses his lawsuit. I wish him the best of luck because he will need it to defeat the cancer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtuwDGJ__2o

1724 days ago
37.

Delilah    

ok Jonathan Garvey so sue Charles Ingalls

1724 days ago
38.

Brownyn    

Disgusted and Dogtrainer...... they have known that asbestos causes cancer from the beginning of the last century (1900)and yet manufactures and business have continued to use it irregardless of the impact on their employees. They were playing the odds that the employees would never sue or die before they had a chance. This all changed in the 60's when the first lawsuit ( I think it was in TX) was won.
Asbestos fire-resistant properties have been known since ancient times (think Pilny the younger) and is the most fire-resistant material to this day, but they haven't been able to come up with anything to match it/replace it.
These people you dismiss as "greedy" are just your basic working men/women who went to work everyday to provide for their families and through no fault of their own (its not like they were smoking the stuff)contract this deadly disease.
And just to make sure you understand just how sneaky and nasty some of these employers are. My father would never have found out from the company doctor that he had asbestos, except that the doctor messed up when looking at my father's x-ray and made the comment. " Well, your plural thickening has not gotten worse". Of course my father asked him what the hell he meant and that is how he found out about having asbestos. His asbestos turned into cancer (mesothelomia) and he died at 62. That was 17 years ago. He was by no stretch of the imagination greedy..... Oh one more thing, the only individuals who really receive any real money are the widows of these men. You have to die from it to receive a large payout....

1724 days ago
39.

Meso Advocate    

My heart goes out to Merlin Olsen, his family, and all the families that have posted here telling their stories about their loved one's tragic diagnoses.

As has been noted in other comments, the companies that manufactured asbestos products knew that asbestos was a dangerous carcinogen (cancer-causing substance), yet asbestos products continue to be used to this day.

Asbestos disease has a latency period (the time between exposure and when an ilness is diagnosed) of 40+ years, so all of the men and women who develop mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases are only able to seek legal regress once they have been diagnosed.

Even sadder, there have been thousands of women and family members who have developed asbestos diseases (including mesothelioma) not by working with asbestos materials every day, but by what is known as "secondary exposure"-- washing the work uniforms worn by a loved one who worked with asbestos products.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4ljdgkMde8

1721 days ago
40.

MB    

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor caused by exposure to asbestos. Medical experts consider it one of the most aggressive of all cancers. Most of the medical and disease research communities have long regarded it as untreatable, deadly and hopeless; and for decades, the need for research to develop effective treatments was ignored. As a result, many mesothelioma patients today are told to accept that there is no hope.

More information about mesothelioma can be found on the website for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation at www.curemeso.org.

1720 days ago
41.

MB    

The link in my post above didn't come through, so here it is again
http://www.curemeso.org

Thanks!

1720 days ago
42.

Robert Vance    

Mesothelioma is a terrible disease! So many people have been exposed to Asbestos without understanding the dangers.

I have a Mesothelioma Information blog for anyone in need of more information.

http://mesothelioma-information-help.blogspot.com/

1352 days ago
43.

Francis Donnelly    

It’s unbelievable that there were companies who knew about asbestos since the beginning of the 20th century and didn’t do anything about it. As we can see here, asbestos exposure can affect any of us. More info on this global problem here:
http://www.weitzlux.com/asbestos-timeline_1962611.html

1235 days ago
44.

Asbestosis Mesothelioma    

He is suing more than 6 companies. Do you really think more than one caused his cancer? If not, then it sounds like he is grasping for anyone to give him a payoff and that's not right. It's morally wrong to sue everyone.

1224 days ago
45.

Alice Smith    

More about Merlin olsen asbestos lawsuit. Make your opinions/ comments
http://www.mesotheliomaresourceonline.com/merlin-olsen-mesothelioma-lawsuit/

1084 days ago
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