Georgia Power Co. can’t get an early exit from claims it is liable for a contract worker’s cancer allegedly caused by his exposure to asbestos at its nuclear power plant, Georgia appellate judges have ruled.
The Georgia Court of Appeals said that there are factual questions over whether Georgia Power had a duty to ensure its Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Power Plant was safe for Georgia insulator Colen Campbell when he worked on an insulation project there in the early 1970s. Campbell was employed by contractor North Brothers for the project, and Georgia Power contends the contractor was responsible for ensuring his safety.
But the court said Georgia Power determined the type of materials used on the insulation project, approved modifications, and retained the right to inspect the work and establish safety and performance rules and regulations.
Under Georgia law, property owners or occupiers are generally responsible through reasonable care for the safety of invitees, including contractors, unless they relinquish possession of the premises or the right to control what happens on site.
Campbell and his wife, Kathryn Campbell, allege his cancer-causing exposure to asbestos was primarily during 1973 and 1974 when he worked on the insulation project at the Hatch nuclear power plant in the southern Georgia city of Baxley. Campbell testified that the boxes of insulation he used there were marked as containing asbestos and that he wasn’t fully aware then of the risks associated with it, only starting to protect himself in the late 1970s.
Georgia Power is the only remaining defendant out of 49 initially named in the Campbells’ June 2017 suit alleging premises liability, negligence, product liability, loss of consortium and unspecified punitive damages. The other defendants, including General Electric Co., have all been dismissed or granted summary judgment in their favor.
Campbell was a career insulator and worked in various power plants, including the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Waynesboro, Georgia, where he was a supervisor as recently as 2016. That plant is also owned by Georgia Power.