Judge rules Merlin Olsen's widow can continue asbestos lawsuit against NBC, Fox

Merlin Olsen's death last week means his widow can "step into his shoes" for the lawsuit he filed charging NBC and other media companies exposed him to asbestos and caused his fatal cancer, a Los Angeles judge ruled today.

Olsen's lawyer, Tiffany Dickinson, said a ruling today by Judge Amy Hogue allows widow Susan Olsen to assume legal claims that were filed by Olsen before he died on March 11 at age 69.

Olsen claimed NBC, NBC Universal and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation improperly exposed him to asbestos during his TV career as a sportscaster and actor, which led to his cancer.

In his suit, Olsen also alleged he was exposed to asbestos beginning as a child and later in life when he worked with drywall as a construction worker.

Olsen was a Hall of Fame defensive tackle with the Los Angeles Rams. He also worked as a sportscaster and starred on the NBC television series "Little House on the Prairie" and "Father Murphy."

California, like most states, have so-called "dead man's statutes" that allow the widow or widower to continue lawsuits after the death of a plaintiff.

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