Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen’s Family Settles Mesothelioma LawsuitCelebrities
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Povtak, T. (2020, October 16). Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen’s Family Settles Mesothelioma Lawsuit. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/09/21/pro-football-hall-of-famer-merlin-olsens-family-settles-mesothelioma-lawsuit/
Povtak, Tim. "Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen’s Family Settles Mesothelioma Lawsuit." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/09/21/pro-football-hall-of-famer-merlin-olsens-family-settles-mesothelioma-lawsuit/.
Povtak, Tim. "Pro Football Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen’s Family Settles Mesothelioma Lawsuit." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2011/09/21/pro-football-hall-of-famer-merlin-olsens-family-settles-mesothelioma-lawsuit/.
Merlin Olsen’s lifetime exposure to asbestos, which caused the mesothelioma cancer that eventually killed him, began as early as age 11 with a summer job on a construction site, leading to the recent settlement between his family and 10 companies that used or manufactured the product.
Olsen, a Hall of Fame football star who also became a successful actor and broadcaster, died March 11, 2010, at age 69, three months after the lawsuit was filed.
Attorneys for his wife filed a notice in Los Angeles, California, earlier this month that the lawsuit had been settled, according to the Associated Press. No details were provided.
Although there were 25 defendants named in the original lawsuit. Many were dropped, according to the Contra Costa Times, before the final settlement was reached, including NBC Studios, where he once worked as a broadcaster.
The suit contended that companies negligently exposed him to asbestos, particularly in his formative years growing up in Utah, where he worked summer jobs doing construction, as far back as 1951.
According to the original lawsuit, Olsen’s mesothelioma was “caused from significant cumulative lifetime exposure to many asbestos products, including heavy equipment parts.”
A two-time All-America football player at Utah State University (1959-61), Olsen played 15 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams in the NFL and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. As an actor, he was a regular on the television series “Little House on the Prairie,” and then starred in his own series, “Father Murphy.”
Before his mesothelioma diagnosis in 2009, he had been in talks with Leigh Steinberg, the well-known sports/entertainment agent about resuming his career as a product spokesman. Earlier this year, at the family’s request, Steinberg gave a lengthy deposition in Olsen’s case, detailing his future earnings potential.
Efforts to reach Steinberg this month at his California office were unsuccessful, but he detailed Olsen’s plight, and was the first to report the lawsuit had been settled. Steinberg wrote about Olsen and the case in a column for the National Football Post in August.
Steinberg said that Georgia Pacific and Caterpillar were among the defendants in Olsen’s lawsuit. Earlier stories reported that Sherwin-Williams and Lennox Corp. also were part of the case.
Here is a memorial video of Olsen and a video of a recent radio interview with him: