Weitz & Luxenberg law firm obtains sizable settlement for N.J. man whose job led to wife’s mesothelioma cancer death
Defendants in tragic case made or supplied asbestos friction-brake products
A retired Richfield, N.J., mechanic who unwittingly caused his wife’s death in 2008 by decades earlier bringing home deadly asbestos dust on his work clothes has received a sizable settlement from several past makers and suppliers of automotive friction brakes.
The plaintiff was represented by the New York-based personal injury law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. The dollar amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
The plaintiff was employed from 1970-72 at a garage in North Bergen, N.J., and for two years afterward he performed brake repairs as a sideline. The brake components he used during those periods contained asbestos.
“Handling worn brake parts exposed our client, repeatedly, to asbestos dust – and on most days he came home from work with his clothes covered in it,” said Leonard F. Feldman, Esq., leading asbestos litigator at Weitz & Luxenberg’s Cherry Hill, N.J., office. “In turn, his wife was exposed every time she shook out his dusty clothes before laundering them in their washing machine.”
The plaintiff in 2009 brought suit in New Jersey Superior Court [docket L-7758-09 AS, Middlesex County] on behalf of his spouse, who died in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., at age 56 from asbestos-induced peritoneal mesothelioma.
Feldman said the case posed several challenges for his team. Among them was the nature of the product and whether the plaintiff’s wife sustained enough asbestos exposure to cause peritoneal mesothelioma cancer.
"At issue here were friction brakes," Feldman explained. “The defendants sought to argue that the wife came into contact with too small an amount of asbestos to have been harmful in this particular way because brakes emit less asbestos dust than other products and because she was exposed to even less dust than a mechanic since her exposure was second-hand. However, all asbestos is dangerous, and the medical and scientific literature show that a person can develop mesothelioma even if all of the asbestos exposure came from brakes.
“The evidence we amassed was compelling enough that a jury likely would have agreed with our position, hence the defendants’ willingness to settle."
The plaintiff [whose name is withheld at his request due to privacy concerns] expressed satisfaction with the outcome.“Weitz & Luxenberg were excellent,” he said. “It was clear they knew what they were doing. They did a great job.”
He said he at first had no desire to sue, but was persuaded by his adult son and daughter to initiate a claim.“They argued that it was morally wrong to let those companies get away with this,” he said. “So, I phoned Weitz & Luxenberg and told them my story. They were very caring, very supportive right from the start. Really nice people. They treated me decently. Looking back, I’m glad I made that call.”
About Weitz & Luxenberg
Founded in 1986 by attorneys Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., today ranks among the nation’s leading law firms. Weitz & Luxenberg’s numerous litigation areas include: mesothelioma, defective medicine and devices, environmental pollutants, accidents, personal injury, and medical malpractice. Victims of accidents are invited to rely on Weitz & Luxenberg’s more than 20 years of handling such cases – begin by contacting the firm’s Client Relations department at 1-800-476-6070 or at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a free legal consultation. More information: www.weitzlux.com
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