Our client was repeatedly exposed to underground asbestos cement water and sewer pipe products during his employment as an underground pipe layer. When those products caused our client’s death from mesothelioma, our attorneys at Weitz & Luxenberg fought to get him compensation from the manufacturers of those deadly products.
“Our client’s wish was to provide for his family after he was gone. On his behalf, our team of attorneys made certain that wish came true,” says Mark Bratt, trial counsel in the case.
Died from Mesothelioma
In October 2016, pleural mesothelioma — a rare but deadly form of cancer — claimed the life of our client, a union pipe layer in Southern California. Our client was only in his mid-60s when he received his diagnosis in May.
He underwent surgery and then filed a lawsuit in June. Sadly, he was never even able to testify before his death.
He left behind a loving wife and several adult children. They were a close family, and our client was still actively working to help them financially.
Asbestos Exposure at Work
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, especially when that exposure is repetitive. Often it takes decades for symptoms to appear. In construction, asbestos is found in roofing materials, furnace insulation, wallboard, plaster, floor tiles, cement and cement tiles, and old underground pipes. (1)
As a union laborer doing construction work, our client worked with underground water and sewer pipe, namely “A/C” or asbestos-cement pipe, throughout his life. His job required him to cut, bevel, and install this pipe frequently.
He was exposed to asbestos fibers when he or others around him performed the cutting and beveling of the pipes, often done with a power saw. As the work proceeded, it created dust laced with asbestos fibers. Our client would consistently inhale those dangerous fibers.
Cutting and beveling pipe could take 10 minutes to complete. It also required more than one person, as someone needed to hold the pipe while it was being cut. Workers were required to perform this task many times a day, so they worked in teams and would alternate who held the pipe and who did the cutting.
Co-Worker Testimony Was Key
In this case, exposure occurred in the 1970s and the 1980s. Co-workers of our client — who worked side by side with him for many years — testified that they worked without any protection and had breathed in asbestos-laced dust.
None of the defendants in this case — manufacturers and suppliers of pipe — informed their customers of the dangers of asbestos, nor did they provide instructions for safely working with their asbestos-containing products.
Our client’s co-workers provided product identification testimony that was accurate and detailed. Their testimony was supported by invoices and other documentation.
W&L Negotiated Large Financial Settlement
In this case, W&L took on some nationally recognized pipe manufacturers and suppliers. These companies had shown callous disregard for customers who purchased and worked with their contaminated products.
These pipe manufacturers and suppliers were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, but still they did not warn customers. This lack of information cost people their lives, including our client.
The settlement in this case was seven figures, which fulfilled our client’s wish to provide for his family now that he is gone. And our team of attorneys sent a clear message to companies: they cannot ignore the safety and well-being of the people who use their products while in pursuit of profits.
Justice for Our Clients
W&L attorneys have negotiated $17 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our team of experienced attorneys is knowledgeable and compassionate.
We understand how important it is for you and your family to receive the just compensation you deserve. Mr. Bratt explains, “It is truly an honor and a privilege to assist people who suffer from mesothelioma. This cruel disease cannot be cured, which is why it is essential that people with this disease, and their family members, have strong lawyers fighting on their behalf to maximize their compensation. It is why we, here at W&L, do what we do.”