Mesothelioma Victim’s Family Awarded $5.8 Million by California Court
The wife and children of a mesothelioma victim have been awarded more than $5.8 million by a California court. The victim, who died at age 59, named 25 defendants engaged in the manufacture or supply of products containing asbestos. The California man claimed that he had been exposed to asbestos beginning at the age of 13 when he first started changing brakes. From his teen years on, the man worked at various gas stations where he repaired brakes and clutches. He also worked in maintenance around steam pipes and asbestos insulation, installed asbestos cement pipe at various sites, while working for a plumbing company, and repaired his own brakes and clutches throughout his life.
Before the victim’s death, many of the 25 defendants settled out of court. Following his death, the victim’s family continued the lawsuit, which came down to just two final defendants. One defendant was granted nonsuit during the jury trial and the other, one of the world’s largest producers of commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems, was not.
This massive company had taken over the 90-year-old brake charging and control systems manufacturing firm that produced many of the asbestos-containing products to which the plaintiff had been exposed. Still, the company decided to forge ahead, choosing to allow the courts to resolve the matter instead of settling. And resolve it they did. The company was found negligent by the jury and ordered to pay more than $1.9 million in noneconomic damages, over $400,000 in economic damages, and $3.5 million in punitive damages. The company appealed the judgement, only to have the court reaffirm it.
Mesothelioma is a tumor of the tissue that lines your lungs, heart, stomach, and other organs called mesothelium. The disease It often starts in the lining of the lung (pleura), but can also start in the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum) or other organs, such as the heart (pericardium) or testes (tunica vaginalis). Per the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “it can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).”
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. In many cases, asbestos exposure occurs at work, where those working with building materials, pipe, automotive parts, and other materials can inhale asbestos particles. It can take as few as 10 years for the disease to develop or up to 40 years or more. Symptoms include:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain under the rib cage
- Pain, swelling, or lumps in the abdomen
- Weight loss for no known reason
“Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer,” says NCI. Your doctor will use diagnostic tools such as blood and imaging tests, as well as biopsies to make a diagnosis. Malignant mesothelioma is often found when it is advanced, which makes it more difficult to treat. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
"California Court of Appeal Case and Opinions." Findlaw.com. FindLaw, A Thomson Reuters Business, 17 Mar. 2017. Web. 01 June 2017.