A substantial mesothelioma verdict was recently awarded to a Navy veteran in San Diego, in a case involving occupational asbestos exposure. Like many other veterans from all branches of the military, the man was regularly exposed to various asbestos-containing materials during his years of service. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma directly connected to the asbestos exposure in 2010 and his condition continues to worsen.
According to court documents, William Mansir worked as a boiler technician in the U.S. Navy in the 1960s and early 1970s, doing maintenance and repairs on boilers, pumps and valves. This work exposed him to toxic asbestos products, including gaskets and packing material. Mansir and his wife sued the company that manufactured the asbestos-containing products, John Crane Inc., along with at least 20 other companies that settled before trial.
The suit was brought on a products liability theory, and Mansir presented testimony from medical experts and his treating oncologist to convince the jury that exposure to the asbestos products triggered his deadly mesothelioma disease. The defendant tried to argue that the disease was actually a localized, less aggressive type of mesothelioma that was not caused by asbestos fibers associated with any of the company’s products. This argument proved unsuccessful and the jury ultimately found the company at fault, awarding Mansir about $2.4 million in damages to cover his past and future medical expenses and loss of income.
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Our mesothelioma lawyers know that many military veterans were exposed to cancer-causing asbestos during their time in the service. Asbestos was widely used in the military for its fireproofing and heat resistant capabilities, and navy veterans are one of the most at-risk groups for an asbestos-related disease. Nearly every ship and shipyard that the Navy used between the 1930s and 1970s had some type of asbestos containing-material.
As this recent mesothelioma verdict shows, manufacturers face extensive liability for asbestos-containing products. Companies have a legal duty to test their products for potential health hazards, such as toxic asbestos, and warn of any serious risks. Sadly, many instances of a deadly mesothelioma disease could have been prevented if workers knew of the asbestos risk and took steps to protect themselves.
Mesothelioma symptoms can take decades to appear, but once the fatal disease develops in the body, it spreads quickly and typically leads to a fatality within about 18 months. The World Health Organization estimates that over 100,000 people die every year from mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer and asbestosis resulting from occupational asbestos exposure. Medical procedures are expensive and often ineffective by the time that a mesothelioma diagnosis is made. Our asbestos attorneys understand the toll that asbestos-related illnesses takes on a person and their family. It is particularly disturbing that so many cases of mesothelioma and other asbestos illnesses could have been prevented with a simple warning. When asbestos regulations are not followed in the workplace and workers are exposes to toxic asbestos fibers, individuals and their families have a legal right to pursue an asbestos lawsuit and hold negligent companies accountable.