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Mechanic’s Family Receives Multimillion-Dollar Settlement with Help of W&L Attorneys

March 18, 2014
Home Firm News Mechanic’s Family Receives Multimillion-Dollar Settlement with Help of W&L Attorneys

A lifetime of working around aircraft and automobile parts gave our client pleural mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. Using detailed research and hard negotiating skills, our Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys were able to get his family a multimillion-dollar total settlement from the companies responsible for his cancer.

W&L attorneys have won verdicts and settlements for our clients that total $8 billion.

Mechanic Suffers from Mesothelioma Due to Asbestos Exposure

Our client spent his life working on automobiles and aircraft, almost 15 of those years in New Jersey. But the exposure to asbestos-containing products left him with pleural mesothelioma that ended his life at 57.

After our client’s diagnosis, not only were the attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg able to reach a sizable settlement for his family, we were able to help get him necessary medical treatment that extended his life by four years.

Our client began working on cars in his native Puerto Rico, doing brake, clutch, and head gasket work. He would replace the old parts with products purchased from auto supply stores.

He worked with his neighbor and did repairs for his friends. And the whole time he was exposed to dust from asbestos-containing friction products like brake pads and linings.

Exposure to Asbestos Dust at Work

Beginning in the mid-1970s, our client was living in the Passaic, New Jersey, area. His main job was to refurbish aircraft brakes and linings.

The commercial parts he used were labeled as containing asbestos. Fitting and sanding the brakes would create a tremendous amount of dust, which he breathed in. The company where he worked offered no protection from this contamination.

Our client kept records of the brakes he worked on and had the serial numbers. Most of these parts were made of asbestos.

Client Diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma Turns to W&L for Help

He had returned to Puerto Rico when he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that affects the membrane surrounding the lungs and chest cavity. Mesothelioma is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.(1)

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that has been known and used for centuries. Primary uses for asbestos include insulation and as a fire retardant. Asbestos occurs naturally in the environment. It is composed of bundles of fibers. These can be separated into thin, durable threads and are often used for commercial and industrial applications.(2)

As the asbestos becomes worn, these fibers form a dust. If inhaled, asbestos can lead to the development of mesothelioma cancer. Development of mesothelioma may take place years after the exposure.

W&L Helped Our Client Get Medical Treatment for Mesothelioma

Our client contacted Weitz & Luxenberg because of our firm’s reputation for handling mesothelioma cases successfully. Mary Grabish Gaffney begin preparing our case, but first had to get our client the medical treatment needed.

“He began his deposition, but was extremely depressed and anxiety ridden. Our client’s doctors in Puerto Rico had told him there were no treatment options and he had very little time left,” explains Ms. Gaffney.

“We put him in touch with a team of doctors in Philadelphia. Our client was able to get treatment that effectively extended his life by two years.”

The treatment involved both surgery and chemotherapy. He received a radical pleurectomy, which is the removal of parts of the pleura linings that surround the lungs. Days after his last chemotherapy treatment, he was able to continue his deposition.

Our Attorneys Reached Settlements with Multiple Manufacturers and an Auto Parts Supplier

Working with our client, the attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg were able to identify approximately 10 manufacturers whose products contained asbestos.

The manufacturers included companies that produced replacement auto parts to companies that produced parts for airplanes. Also involved in the settlement was a large retail chain that sold the auto parts he used.

These were all products the client used regularly when doing auto repairs. He also used them in his job servicing airplane brakes.

“We are very happy that we were able to get a financial settlement for our client and his family. More importantly, we were able to provide assistance in getting him the medical treatment he needed to extend his life. This is an example of the type of support our clients get as we work with them. At Weitz & Luxenberg, we are dedicated to getting our clients everything they deserve,” states Leonard F. Feldman.

Mr. Feldman handled the settlement negotiations as part of his role in running Weitz & Luxenberg’s asbestos practice for New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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