The family of a former Navy shipfitter who died earlier this year of mesothelioma received a verdict of $20 million against a manufacturer of boilers that were insulated with asbestos, the law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg today announced.
It took just two hours for a New York City jury to decide at the end of a six-week trial that the defendant corporation acted with reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s safety when it caused him to be exposed to asbestos insulating their boilers.
The jury found the defendant corporation 30-percent liable for the harm to the plaintiff, W&L reported.
The defendant was Lancaster, Pennsylvania,-based boiler manufacturer Burnham, LLC, which sells its boilers under the trade name Burnham Commercial, according to court documents.
Burnham, one of several corporations originally named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was the lone holdout for a full trial.
W&L’s Asbestos Litigation Team
The plaintiff’s courtroom advocates were W&L attorneys Benjamin Darche and Adam Cooper.
The plaintiff was 72 when mesothelioma claimed his life. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the children and grandchildren who survived him.
The plaintiff served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, assigned to duty as a pipefitter and shipfitter aboard three vessels, and at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Following his discharge, he worked as a steamfitter in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S., the firm said.
Diagnosed With Pleural Mesothelioma
The plaintiff came into contact with asbestos during both his Navy stint and time as a civilian steamfitter, W&L said, noting that mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.
“Specifically pertinent was the fact that the plaintiff worked in close proximity to boilermakers while they removed asbestos insulation from boilers,” Darche explained.
The plaintiff was diagnosed with pleural malignant mesothelioma in early 2012 following the onset of symptoms and endured roughly 30 months of pain and suffering, court records show.
Of the trial’s outcome, Darche said the jury delivered “a very well reasoned and considerate verdict.”
Added attorney Cooper, “They were obviously persuaded by the plaintiff’s case, our experts, the testimony of key witnesses, and our cross-examination of the defendant’s corporate representative.”
The jury’s finding of recklessness was significant because it means that defendant Burnham is jointly and severally liable for the $20 million, the firm said.