Written By: Joe Lahav, Esquire,
Last modified: October 14, 2021

Filing an Asbestos Claim in Tennessee

Tennessee residents who develop asbestos-related diseases may be eligible to file a personal injury claim, and family members who have lost a loved one to mesothelioma may qualify to file a wrongful death claim.

Workers in Tennessee have been exposed to asbestos in small and large cities throughout the state, including Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Kingsport and Oak Ridge. Paper mills were among the most dangerous sources of asbestos exposure in Tennessee. Power generation was another primary source of exposure for residents. The Tennessee Valley Authority was so successful in the state that it became one of the largest energy providers in the country, with locations throughout the U.S.

Veterans of the U.S. armed forces were exposed to asbestos on military bases in Tennessee, including Arnold Air Force Base near Tullahoma and Naval Support Activity Mid-South in Millington.

Tennessee’s statute of limitations gives just one year from the time of diagnosis to file personal injury claims and one year from the time of death for wrongful death claims. This is a departure from most other states typically offering longer statutes of limitations for asbestos claims.

Residents diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease should hire a Tennessee mesothelioma lawyer to handle their claim.

You should not rely on any information herein to make a determination about your legal rights. Please speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to best understand your legal options.

Attorney checking cell phone
Find a Mesothelioma Attorney in Tennessee
Get help finding an attorney who knows the process and can get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Industries in Tennessee Known for Asbestos Exposure

  • Agriculture
  • Chemical production
  • Carpentry
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil refining
  • Paper milling
  • Power generation

Tennessee residents have been occupationally exposed to asbestos at construction sites, power plants, chemical plants, oil refineries, paper mills and on farms.

There are no naturally occurring asbestos deposits in Tennessee, although several deposits lie just outside its eastern border in North Carolina.

Law Firms Practicing in Tennessee

National mesothelioma law firms are licensed to practice in Tennessee, and they have the expertise to determine the best jurisdictions in which to file your mesothelioma claim.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Law Firms

  • Weitz & Luxenberg
  • Simmons Hanly Conroy
  • Cooney & Conway
  • Nemeroff Law
  • Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman

One of the perks of working with a national mesothelioma law firm is that they travel to you. Tennessee residents can interview attorneys working at national firms from the comfort of their home. National law firms will also often travel to your home to conduct depositions.

Notable Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to Tennessee Workers

  • $4.6 Million in 2015: A Tennessee jury awarded $4.6 million to Joyce and Ronnie Stockton, who claimed Joyce Stockton developed mesothelioma through contact with her husband’s asbestos-contaminated clothing. Ronnie Stockton was exposed to asbestos automobile products manufactured by Ford Motor Co. while working as an auto mechanic. In 2017, a divided Tennessee appeals court panel vacated the award and remanded the case to a lower court because the initial jury failed to go through the process of finding Ford’s product defective or unreasonably dangerous prior to finding them liable. The outcome of the remanded case remains unpublished.
  • $1.4 Million in 2009: A Hamilton County jury in Tennessee awarded $1.4 million to Marian Jackson, who claimed her husband’s death from mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos through his work as a pipefitter for Combustion Engineering in Chattanooga. The award was issued in 2009, and at that time, it was the second asbestos case to reach a trial in Tennessee in 15 years. Jackson reportedly secured private mesothelioma settlements with several defendants before the trial, including Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.
  • $115,247 in 2020: A Tennessee appeals court affirmed a reduction in total compensatory damages awarded to the Davis estate – from $2.07 million to $115,247 – following a defendant’s objection claiming the state’s statutory damages cap of $750,000 applies in the case. Lois and James Davis sued Ameron International Corporation and eight other defendants, claiming James Davis developed mesothelioma from exposure to the defendants’ asbestos products. Davis died, and his widow carried on the suit as a wrongful death claim. She reached mesothelioma settlements with the eight other defendants before the trial.

Tennessee Asbestos Laws and Regulations

The state uses a blend of state and federal laws to regulate asbestos and prevent exposure among Tennessee residents.

Regulations Governing Asbestos in Tennessee

  • Tennessee Rule Chapter 1200-01-20: Defines Tennessee’s asbestos regulations, including the asbestos accreditation requirements for training providers, training courses, firms and asbestos professionals in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee Code Section 62-41-101: Outlines Tennessee’s asbestos contractor accreditation regulations.

State Departments Overseeing Tennessee’s Asbestos Laws

  • Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Division of Air Pollution Control
  • Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Division of Occupational Safety and Health

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation oversees the state’s asbestos program. It’s Air Pollution Control Division handles permits for asbestos demolition and renovation projects. The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Division of Occupational Safety and Health enforces asbestos exposure protections in the workplace.

Tennessee Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits

  • Tennessee Code 28-3-104(a)(1): Defines the statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Tennessee.
  • Tennessee Code Sections 29-11-101 and 47-3-406: Defines Tennessee’s negligence laws, including the definition of the state’s modified comparative negligence rule.
  • Tennessee Code Annotated Section 29-39-102: Sets a cap on the noneconomic damages that each injured plaintiff may recover in a civil lawsuit. Compensation for noneconomic damages cannot exceed $750,000 for all injuries.

Asbestos Litigation Trends in Tennessee

In May 2021, Tennessee passed legislation giving asbestos plaintiffs 30 days to submit evidence to serve as the basis for including each defendant named in a lawsuit. The legislation allows Tennessee courts to dismiss lawsuits that don’t provide sufficient evidence within 30 days of filing.

In January 2021, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled that the “bare metal” defense applies under Tennessee law. Under the bare metal defense, defendants say they should not be held liable for asbestos replacement parts that cause disease. The Tennessee Supreme Court agreed, stating the bare metal defense is consistent with the Tennessee Products Liability Act.

Tennessee is a state that uses a modified comparative negligence law for personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. In Tennessee, plaintiffs found 50% or more at fault for the injury cannot collect damages.

A Tennessee mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and advise whether these laws apply to your claim.


Get the Compensation You Deserve
Mesothelioma packet from the Mesothelioma Center
Get Your Free Mesothelioma Legal Guide
Doctor assisting a patient
Find a Top Mesothelioma Doctor

  •  
  •  
  •  
Tell us what you think
Did this article help you?
How did this article help you?
What about this article isn’t helpful for you?
Did this article help you?

Thank you for your feedback. Would you like to speak with a Patient Advocate?