Earlier this month, we wrote about a $2.4 million verdict that was awarded to a former Navy veteran who had developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos throughout his decade of service on Navy ships. Now, another former naval shipyard employee has been awarded damages after almost 20 years of working in the boiler rooms of several Navy vessels resulted in a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma.
Before Frank Bender became a forensic sculptor and an invaluable asset to several Philadelphia-area police agencies, and before he became a savior to the families of murder victims who had gone years without answers, he was a member of the United States Navy who spent many years sleeping on Navy vessels. And it was because of those years that Bender developed the mesothelioma that would ultimately take his life when he was just 70 years old.
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.
A trial judge has granted a second motion for continuance in a mesothelioma case that has now dragged on for over three years. In 2008, a jury ruled in favor of defendant DuPont De Nemours, finding that the company was not responsible for the plaintiff's father's asbestos exposure, mesothelioma, and death. However, the judge overseeing the trial granted the plaintiff's motion for a new trial, and each party has now requested - and been granted - a motion for continuance.
Recently, a jury awarded $2.5 million to a plaintiff who had filed a lawsuit against several companies, alleging that each was partially responsible for his asbestos exposure and subsequent mesothelioma. Although the majority of the defendant companies settled with the plaintiff before the case went to trial, Ford Motor Company refused to do so, and was ordered to pay a significant portion of the total damage award.
Every year, around 2,500 people are diagnosed with some form of mesothelioma in the United States. Although anyone is susceptible to the disease, there are several occupations, such as plumbing, railroad work, heating and cooling, general contracting, and similar jobs, that leave employees at a higher risk for the disease.
Last month, an Illinois appellate court ruled that there was no relationship between a defendant company and the wife of one of its employees sufficient to justify a $2 million damages award for asbestos exposure. In overturning the verdict, the court cited a similar ruling from Illinois' Second District, while choosing to overlook a conflicting opinion from the Fifth District. Because of the contradictory precedent, it is likely that this issue will be the subject of further litigation in the state.
Imagine living next door to a big business that just opened up. If your new neighbor operates its business cleanly and conscientiously, you will appreciate the contributions it is making to the local economy. Imagine, however, that the business is polluting and causes you to become ill, or that it dumps dangerous products with asbestos into the local commerce. In this type of situation, you would want to rely on a strong civil justice system to seek compensation for your injuries.
Earlier this week, we began a two-part series discussing a new mesothelioma treatment breakthrough that was achieved by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. Aside from potentially erasing the need for a complete lung removal in patients suffering from pleural mesothelioma, the combination of a partial removal plus photodynamic light therapy may extend the life span of mesothelioma patients.
Last month, we wrote about a recent study at the University of Pennsylvania which indicated that a new combination of less-invasive mesothelioma treatments and surgical procedures may be more effective at treating pleural mesothelioma than the more radical lung removal surgery. Although much has yet to be learned about these new medical innovations, researchers are encouraged by the positive early results.