The former painter and decorator is seeking damages from housebuilders Beazer Homes Ltd, of Fulford, York, for whom he worked in the 1970s.
He accuses the company of exposing him to a major risk of fatal injury from asbestos dust without giving him any protection or warning him about the risks he ran.
He has contracted malignant mesothelioma, a cancer usually affecting the delicate tissues surrounding the lungs or the stomach.
His writ, issued at London’s High Court and just made publicly available, says he worked alongside joiners and carpenters who were using asbestos board for soffits, the canopies over doors, and in the front of garages.
His colleagues used handsaws to cut the asbestos board, which released asbestos dust into the atmosphere, and his job included painting the asbestos boards on garage doors and canopies, he says.
The writ also says that sometimes there were bonfires to get rid of the off-cuts, including discarded asbestos, which released substantial amounts of asbestos fibres into the atmosphere.
The company also negligently failed to provide him with breathing apparatus, or respiratory protection, exposed him to a major risk of grave or fatal injury, failed to provide enough ventilation, and failed to provide him with a safe workplace, it is alleged.
The 79-year-old is seeking damages of more than £200,000 and the costs of treatment, which may include biological therapy and immunotherapy, to treat his cancer.