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Miller, American Art Clay Co., Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma

The Miller, American Art Clay Co., Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma case is about an artist and professor that developed and died from mesothelioma and alleged that the clay he used contained talc with asbestos.

Miller, American Art Clay Co., Talc, Asbestos & Mesothelioma: A recent case in the United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin ruled on an appeal of a summary judgment motion.  The Court granted the summary judgment.

A brief summary of the facts include:

  • Don Peter Miller was an artist and art professor who worked in various media over a long career.
  • From the late 1970s until his retirement in 1996, Miller worked in clay, primarily in a studio in the basement of his home.
  • It was often dusty work, particularly when Miller mixed dry clay or when he drilled and sanded his pieces after they had been fired.
  • Miller was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos-caused illness, in April 2012.
  • Miller and his wife, Jane, sued six defendants alleging that they made asbestos-containing products to which Miller had been exposed either in his work places, his home studio, or in making repairs to his home.
  • A seventh defendant, not at issue in this opinion, is an insurance company alleged to have abetted the concealment of the risks of asbestos.
  • After Miller died in October, 2012, his daughter, Cary, and Western National Trust Company substituted for Miller in this case as the representatives of his estate.
  • Four of the manufacturer defendants have been dismissed from this suit. Two remain: American Art Clay Co., Inc. (AMACO), the maker of Miller’s preferred clay, and R. T. Vanderbilt Co., Inc. (Vanderbilt), which supplied talc, an ingredient in some of AMACO’s clay formulations.
  • Plaintiffs allege that Vanderbilt’s talc contained asbestos, and that Miller used an AMACO clay formulation, White Clay No. 25, that contained Vanderbilt talc.
  • Miller was a professor of art at the University of Wisconsin—River Falls, where he taught calligraphy, print making, and painting.
  • Miller’s own artwork was in various media, including painting, drawing, and digital media.
  • From 1978 to the early 1990s, Miller worked extensively with ceramics in a studio in the basement of his home.
  • Miller retired from teaching in 1996. Miller also did repairs and renovations on his home, in the course of which he was exposed to asbestos-containing products including floor tile and caulk.
  • The Court Ruled: Granted Summary Judgment 
  • To find out more on the case, see Case No. American Art Clay – June 23, 2014.

For more on asbestos and mesothelioma, please visit the links below:


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If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and need an asbestos or mesothelioma lawyer to help you file a mesothelioma lawsuit, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.