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March 30, 2008

Motley Rice applauds National Asbestos Awareness Week resolution

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C.- In recognition of the United States Senate's resolution designating the first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week, South Carolina-based plaintiffs' firm Motley Rice LLC stresses the continuing importance of research, action and responsibility as related to asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases throughout South Carolina.

"I applaud the Senate for recognizing the need to draw more attention to this important topic.  Victims of asbestos-related diseases and their families have a voice and message that needs to be heard," said Motley Rice Member and litigator John Herrick. "They are uniting together to push for improved rights to treatment, research and prevention."

Ron Wood, a Motley Rice client suffering from asbestosis, is one of these voices striving to raise awareness on the dangers of asbestos exposure. Wood worked as an insulator in South Carolina from 1965 to 1976. He recently lost his son, James Ron Wood, Jr., to deadly mesothelioma as a result of household exposure to asbestos.

"Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to you, and I carry the guilt every day of knowing I exposed him to asbestos," said Wood, who today trains employees in environmental safety and health. "Every time I relate my experience to the people I am training, I lose a little piece of myself, but I'm trying to get something positive out of what happened."

Asbestos-related illnesses remain an issue in South Carolina, from the former Charleston Naval Base in the Lowcountry to the textile plants in the upstate.  Motley Rice attorneys have a long history of fighting for the rights of occupational workers and their loved ones who have suffered due to asbestos-related diseases, and the firm continues to see new cases of South Carolina workers who have developed these illnesses. Many South Carolina industrial workers who are developing these diseases were employed at major jobsites including paper mills in Charleston and Georgetown, chemical manufacturing plants in Aiken and Greenville, and various power plants throughout the state.  

It was in a Greenville, South Carolina, courthouse in 1978 that Motley Rice LLC co-founder Ronald L. Motley first introduced into evidence the infamous Sumner Simpson files which exposed the fact that asbestos manufacturers knew as early as 1935 that asbestos caused disabling damage to the lungs.  It was from his small Barnwell, South Carolina, office that Motley called every plaintiffs attorney he knew and offered to share the evidence for the mere cost of photocopying.  He continued to research and investigate asbestos and the medical facts of asbestos-related diseases, and was eventually asked to contribute to several medical journals and serve as guest speaker at numerous medical conferences.  Since then, Motley and other Motley Rice attorneys have represented thousands exposed to and harmed by asbestos and asbestos products throughout America and Canada. 

"I believe that, because of Ron's war of disclosure and his belief in corporate responsibility, we are able to have the awareness of the asbestos danger that exists today.  Ron's passion for the truth serves as the cornerstone of this week's mission," stated Motley Rice co-founder, Joseph F. Rice.

Proposed by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Senator Harry Reid and passed unanimously by the U.S. House and Senate in 2005, Asbestos Awareness Day was founded to honor loved ones affected by asbestos-related diseases, as well as to promote advances in protecting the rights of asbestos victims and to increase public awareness of the continuing dangers of asbestos exposure and the often fatal asbestos-related illnesses.  This year the Senate took it a step further and passed a resolution to designate the entire first week of April as National Asbestos Awareness Week.

As a parallel to their litigation efforts, the firm strongly supports national efforts for greater awareness, improved rights and protections, and enhanced medical care for asbestos victims and their loved ones. Motley Rice attorneys have worked with several unions, including the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, as legal and advisory counsel, and in 2005, the firm joined the executive advisory board of the International Pleural Mesothelioma Program, based at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

For more information on Asbestos Awareness Week visit www.AsbestosDiseaseAwareness.org. To learn more about the Motley Rice Occupational Disease practice group or the firm's work in asbestos litigation or more about mesothelioma, visit www.motleyrice.com/asbestos-exposure.

About Motley Rice LLC
Motley Rice LLC is one of the nation's largest plaintiffs' litigation firms, headquartered in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.  In addition to their pioneering work on behalf of asbestos victims, Motley Rice attorneys have also gained global recognition for their work on behalf of the State Attorneys General in their landmark litigation against the tobacco industry, and the 9/11 families in their groundbreaking lawsuit against terrorist financiers.  For more information, contact attorney John E. Herrick (SC, MD) at 1-800-923-4237.