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Navy veteran awarded multi-million damages in asbestos lawsuit

Although mesothelioma is common among workers in industries such as general contractors and construction workers, railroad employees, and heating and cooling installers and maintenance workers, it is especially prevalent among U.S. Navy and other military veterans. This is because naval shipyard employees worked with products containing asbestos on a daily basis. Boilers, hydraulic assemblies, gaskets, adhesives, and thermal insulation are just a few examples of the many asbestos-laden products regularly encountered by Navy veterans.

As a result, both retired and active-duty members of the military report incidences of mesothelioma at rates highly disproportionate to people in other occupations. Veterans who suffer from mesothelioma, as well as family members of veterans who have lost their battle with the deadly disease, are generally entitled to a legal and financial recourse in recognition of their suffering.

Recently, a Navy veteran was awarded $2.4 million in damages after he developed mesothelioma from exposure to various asbestos during his 10 years of work in Navy ship boiler rooms. Prior to the jury award, the veteran had reached settlement agreements with 20 other defendants named in the asbestos lawsuit. When it determined the damage amount, the jury also decided that the lone remaining defendant would be responsible for five percent of the damages.

That defendant is a company that manufactures some of the products containing asbestos that are responsible for the plaintiff's illness. In court, a medical expert witness for the defendant testified that the plaintiff may have localized malignant mesothelioma, instead of diffuse malignant mesothelioma. In making this argument, the defendant was attempting to claim that the latter was not caused by exposure to the chrysotile asbestos fibers that have been associated with its products, which only cause mesothelioma after in large doses. The jury disagreed, finding the company five percent liable for the plaintiff's illness.

Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, "San Diego jury returns $2.4 million verdict in asbestos suit," August 5, 2011

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