$35 Million Award for Asbestos Removal Worker

Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report of a March 2013 verdict in favor of the family of an asbestos worker victimized by to mesothelioma. The New York Supreme Court jury found that Ivo John Peraica’s fatal mesothelioma diagnosis was caused directly by exposure to asbestos, and held Crane Company liable for his death.

Crane Company, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, is an industrial products manufacturer with net sales of nearly $3 billion in 2012. Ivo John Peraica and his family immigrated to New York from Croatia in 1978, and he almost immediately started working at Crane Co., where he remained for eight years.

Over those eight years, Peraica became a member of the Local 12 Heat and Frost Insulators Union. The building and construction industries used asbestos fibers as insulators for many years because of its significant resistance to heat and fire. It was not until the late 1980s – after Peraica stopped working for Crane – that the EPA banned new use of asbestos. As part of his daily job responsibilities, Peraica was expected to strip asbestos insulation from pipes, boilers, pumps, and other industrial equipment.

He stopped working for Crane in 1986. Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos, takes roughly between 20 and 50 years to develop. Peraica was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012, and died of the disease on December 28th of that year.

Before his passing, Peraica provided about four days worth of deposition testimony that was read into evidence. Because the average expected survival time for mesothelioma patients is less than one year, pre-recorded testimony of this kind is not uncommon. Many victims of mesothelioma are aware that they were exposed to the dangerous substance occupationally, and seek a mesothelioma lawsuit after they are diagnosed. Unfortunately, because of the severity of the disease, many victims are not able to survive to the end of the trial.

What is perhaps most troubling about this case is that Crane Co. admitted in court to knowing about the dangers of asbestos exposure since as far back as the 1930s. Even with this knowledge, the company contracted unknowing employees like Peraica to work, every day, in close proximity to the toxic substance. On top of this, the company also failed to provide any warnings to Peraica about the potential dangers of his work. It is important to note that mesothelioma is very much preventable, but impossible to cure.

If companies like Crane Co. simply provided warnings to their workers about the risks to their health, workers could adequately guard themselves with respirators and other protective gear. This would prevent tragedies and premature deaths such as this from ever happening.

Peraica is survived by his wife and three daughters, one of whom testified at the trial about her father’s pain and suffering while struggling with mesothelioma. Crane Co. attempted to argue that several other companies, and even Peraica himself, were actually to blame for the asbestos exposure. The jury, however, ultimately decided that Crane Co. acted with reckless disregard for its workers and consumer safety by failing to adequately protect against a known toxic substance
Mesothelioma is just one of the diseases workers can develop after being exposed to asbestos on the job. Asbestosis is a debilitating lung disease that is often first diagnosed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. One recent asbestos lawsuit was filed by six Tennessee construction workers who were exposed when contractors refused to give them any protective equipment. These workers did not know that the materials they were handling contained asbestos, although the contractors they were working for were aware. The workers were ordered to cut up, demolish, and burn the materials, which created large amounts of what they now know were asbestos dust and remains.

The industries whose workers are most at risk for asbestos exposure are in shipyards, automotives, construction, and the military – particularly the Navy. Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge anyone exposed to asbestos and developed a related illness to contact a skilled attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to a significant settlement through an asbestos exposure lawsuit.