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W&L Secures Multimillion-Dollar Settlement for Asbestos-Exposed Veteran

November 30, 2017
Home Firm News W&L Secures Multimillion-Dollar Settlement for Asbestos-Exposed Veteran

A veteran who was exposed to asbestos from a number of products came to Weitz & Luxenberg for help after he received a terrible medical diagnosis. We accepted his case and were ready to go to trial with his lawsuit.

Right at the start of his trial, the companies we were suing decided to settle. We got several million dollars in compensation for our client.

No Precautions Taken with Contaminated Products

Our client was diagnosed in 2016 with incurable and metastatic malignant mesothelioma. He developed this cancer after a lifetime of working around products that were manufactured with asbestos and in environments that did not provide proper precautions for his safety. Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause for developing mesothelioma.

Our client was exposed to a wide variety of products — products that he used at home, while in the service, and later in his work as an employee for California’s Department of General Services. His lawsuit named almost 50 different manufacturers.

Manufacturers Have a Duty to Warn People of Dangers

He was constantly exposed to dangerous products that imperiled his health. From early work on cars, to his service as a boilerman in the U.S. Navy, to his work as a stationary engineer on HVAC and cooling towers for the state of California, he faced products with asbestos regularly. This ultimately ended with his contracting this cancer, as well as enduring years of surgeries and chemotherapy.

“It is vital that manufacturers whose products contain asbestos warn the people using them and provide notice on how they can protect themselves. We were able to demonstrate that these manufacturers did neither,” says Weitz & Luxenberg attorney Marc Willick.

Because of our experience with these types of cases, our attorneys have been able to negotiate more than $17 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. This money is important to support the people who are sick and their families.

Constant Exposure

Our client’s exposure to asbestos began when he was in his early teens. He and his father did home automotive repairs, including brake repairs and replacements.

He was exposed to the dust as he removed old parts, sanded new parts, and then cleaned up. This work continued until he left to serve in the U.S. Navy.

While in the service, he maintained equipment that had been made with asbestos. He was present when insulated pipes were removed and new lines installed. Both the pipes and the insulation for them were made with asbestos.

Removal and installation of these required cutting, sanding, and fitting, which created contaminated dust. There were no warnings about the hazards, nor were there any protective measures for the workers.

HVAC Maintenance and Cleaning

After leaving the Navy, our client began working as a civilian employee and HVAC maintenance engineer for his state’s general services department. His responsibilities included maintaining and cleaning out cooling towers. Cooling towers contained asbestos into the 1980s. He regularly worked with and replaced pumps, gaskets, and valves on boilers for the state facilities.

Not only was he exposed to asbestos because of his own contact with the equipment and parts being used, but also because he was in proximity to other employees carrying out similar tasks. No safety measures were in place to protect the workers, who were not aware of the dangers.

Doing Home Repair and Improvements

Beyond his work for the state, our client also did home repairs and improvements during this time. The products he used were meant for consumer purchase and use, but they were not labeled as containing asbestos. And there were no notices on proper use or how the consumer could protect himself.

The products used in these projects included caulk and sealing compounds, joint compounds, and certain electrical parts. Attorney Willick states, “To not warn consumers about the dangers of these products is to clearly place profits above the welfare of the general public.”

Diagnosis and Lawsuit

Our client’s diagnosis of mesothelioma was confirmed in 2016. Although his exposure began in the late 1950s it can take decades for mesothelioma to develop.

Shortly after his diagnosis was confirmed, our client contacted Weitz & Luxenberg. His medical prognosis was not good.

Weitz & Luxenberg immediately moved to prepare his case. “It was important to move forward because our client was undergoing medical treatment. He was no longer able to work as a plumber and handyman, and was having trouble paying his expenses,” explains Mr. Willick. “As the single father of an adult child with grandchildren and great grandchildren, he didn’t want to burden his family with the costs of treating his illness.”

“It was critical that we got him the support he needed and the care he deserved,” insists Mr. Willick. “Because of this settlement, he could continue receiving the medical treatments and home care he needed. There was, however, no cure for his cancer, and it ultimately took his life. I hope by bringing this case, Weitz & Luxenberg changes the defendants’ behavior of putting profits over people.”

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