Articles Posted in Companies & Asbestos

When people think about cruise ships, rarely do they think about dangerous asbestos exposure. Often, when people think about cruise ships, they think of luxury, relaxation, and adventure. However, underneath all the glamor lies a less glamorous reality. Many people who worked on cruise ships many years ago may have been exposed to asbestos. Unfortunately, asbestos exposure can result in the development of deadly illnesses, including mesothelioma and lung cancer.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral. There are six types of asbestos: chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite. Asbestos is known for being resistant to heat, wear, and chemicals, and for its flexibility. These and many other characteristics make asbestos a suitable material for use as insulation in many fields.

For purposes of this article, the mesothelioma victim in this case will be referred to as R.M., and the victim’s husband as T.M.

After a person develops mesothelioma, they or their loved ones can file a mesothelioma claim on their behalf and seek justice and financial compensation from the party or parties responsible for the asbestos exposure. One of the first crucial steps before filing a mesothelioma case is identifying all the parties responsible for the asbestos exposure. Often, people are exposed to asbestos from multiple sources. Identifying all defendants is vital to ensuring that victims or their families can recover the maximum compensation. Also, identifying all defendants promotes fairness. It ensures that each party responsible for the asbestos exposure is held accountable. However, after identifying all the parties responsible for the asbestos exposure and filing a claim, it is not uncommon for some defendants to deny liability and request the court to drop them from litigation.

In a recent case, the judge denied a co-defendant’s request to be dropped from litigation. The defendant, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, asked the court to drop them from litigation on the grounds that the company they supplied the asbestos-containing materials to did not need any warning about the dangers of asbestos since it was a “sophisticated user.” The claimant and the other defendant opposed this action, and the judge denied the request.

For purposes of this article, the victim in this case will be referred to as Mr. R.D.

In a recent court decision, Justice Adam Silvera of the New York Supreme Court denied two printing press companies’ motions to dismiss the mesothelioma claims filed against them. The two printing press companies tried to escape liability for the deceased victim’s asbestos exposure between the 1960s and 1980s. Justice Adam Silvera ruled that the victim’s testimony was strong enough to allow the case to proceed.

The victim in this case, Mr. R.D., was a printing press operator from the 1960s to the 1980s. It was during this time that R.D. was exposed to asbestos numerous times. Before passing away, the late mesothelioma victim filed lawsuits against two press companies he accused of being responsible for his asbestos exposure. The two companies are L3Harris Technologies Inc. and Heidelberg USA. Inc. printing presses. In his legal claim, Mr. R.D. said that he developed mesothelioma as a result of being exposed to brakes from Airflex, which L3Harris incorporated in their printing presses. As for the other defendant, Mr. R.D. claimed their presses also contained asbestos. According to the mesothelioma victim, the two companies exposed him to asbestos-contaminated parts in their machines without sufficient warnings of the dangers they posed.

For purposes of this article, the victims in this case will be referred to as T.W. and J.W.

Vermiculite, a naturally occurring mineral with heat-resistant properties, and asbestos, also a naturally occurring mineral, form under the same conditions. Asbestos is a dangerous substance that can cause several fatal illnesses, including mesothelioma. In Libby, Montana, asbestos contaminated the city’s vermiculite deposit, so years of mining this mineral in the city exposed workers and residents to asbestos. Thousands of people got sick because of asbestos exposure, and over the years, victims and families of victims have filed countless legal claims. In April 2024, two Libby residents’ stories will be told by their surviving loved ones who filed a lawsuit against the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

T.W. ‘s family and J.W. ‘s family filed a mesothelioma wrongful death claim against the railway company and other defendants after their loved ones died of malignant mesothelioma. According to the two families, the companies named in the lawsuit are strictly liable for their loved one’s death. T.W.’s family and J.W.’s family are seeking to recover compensatory and punitive damages for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones.

For purposes of this article, the mesothelioma victim will be referred to as G.P.

In a recent court decision, a judge ruled the surviving family members of a deceased cruise ship worker have a valid mesothelioma case against Steel Grip, an asbestos gloves manufacturer. The judge hearing the case ruled that the mesothelioma lawsuit the survivors filed against Steel Grip should proceed. After G.P., a cruise worker, developed malignant mesothelioma and died, his surviving loved ones filed a personal injury claim in New York. G.P.’s family believes he developed mesothelioma because of the asbestos-contaminated gloves he wore when working. Steel Grip manufactured the gloves, so the family included Steel Grip in their claim. The defendant tried arguing that they had never done any business in New York. However, upon listening to the evidence presented, the judge ruled that G.P.’s family had a valid case and the case could proceed.

G.P. worked on Italian cruise ships for many years. However, while working on the cruise ships presented the risk of asbestos exposure, his family strongly believes that he developed malignant mesothelioma because of his work gloves. In response to being named as a defendant in the case, the gloves manufacturer argued that the court hearing the case did not have jurisdiction over them since they had never done any business in New York. This first argument was defeated by the fact that G.P.’s cruise ships would stop in New York, and he remembered seeing boxes of gloves manufactured by Steel Grip being loaded onto ships while in New York.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael Kaplan denied Johnson & Johnson’s second bankruptcy attempt in a recent court decision.  This decision offers hope to many mesothelioma and ovarian cancer victims seeking justice from Johnson & Johnson. The consumer giant is facing tens of thousands of negligence claims accusing its talc powder product of causing mesothelioma and ovarian cancer.

Sometime back, Johnson & Johnson formed its subsidiary, LTL Management, for the purpose of carrying its talc liabilities into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. When a company is facing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related lawsuits, the company can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Once the bankruptcy filing is approved, the company is required to establish a trust fund and put aside money to compensate people harmed by asbestos. In 2021, LTL Management filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and offered $2 billion in settlement for victims and their families. An NJ bankruptcy court approved this first filing, but a higher court reversed the decision citing that the company filed for bankruptcy without any real financial distress, thus, lacked good faith.

Johnson & Johnson did not give up and, through its subsidiary, filed for bankruptcy for the second time. The company offered $8.9 billion in settlement in the second bankruptcy filing for the victims and their families. This is over four times the amount Johnson & Johnson had offered during the first bankruptcy filing. However, despite this and the fact that about 60,000 plaintiffs and some attorneys representing plaintiffs supported the proposed settlement, many more people argued against the move. According to those who do not support Johnson & Johnson’s attempt to declare bankruptcy, allowing Johnson & Johnson to declare bankruptcy would mean that victims and their families will be forced to agree to insufficient terms and will prevent those who may be diagnosed in the future from pursuing justice.

For purposes of this article, the victim in this case will be referred to as M.F.B.

In a mesothelioma case, you can recover compensatory damages just like in any other personal injury case. These are damages meant to compensate the plaintiff for the harm suffered. Claimants in mesothelioma claims may also be eligible to recover punitive damages.  However, punitive damages are not awarded in all mesothelioma cases. This is because these damages are meant to punish defendants and not compensate victims or their families. Punitive damages are only awarded when the court determines that the defendant acted particularly egregiously or with the intent to cause harm. Any person found guilty of this kind of conduct pays the plaintiff’s compensatory damages and an additional amount meant to punish them and warn others from acting the same in the future.

Because of the financial burden punitive damages place on defendants, some try to dismiss a claim for such damages. In a recent mesothelioma case, the defendant, a boiler manufacturer, tried dismissing a claim for punitive damages. However, the judge sitting in the case denied the defendant’s petition and allowed the case to continue in its entirety. Burnham LLC, one of the defendants being blamed for the malignant mesothelioma that killed M.F.B. in 2021, could be required to pay the deceased’s punitive damages at the end of the case after the court ruled that the company was unable to prove that punitive damages were not warranted.

For purposes of this article, the plaintiff in this case will be referred to as A.H.V.

Johnson & Johnson, the famous American corporation, has been sued by tens of thousands of people for its talc-based products. According to claimants, the company’s baby powder and other talc products sometimes contained asbestos. Asbestos is a dangerous substance that can cause mesothelioma and other fatal illnesses. Most litigation has been halted during bankruptcy proceedings, but J&J faced a setback after a recent ruling. Recently, a California jury decided that a particular plaintiff who filed their case against J&J in 2022 is entitled to $18.8 million for his medical expenses and pain and suffering. This is a lot of money for a company seeking to settle thousands of similar claims. The case proceeded after the U.S. Chief Bankruptcy Judge overseeing J&J’s subsidiary LTL Management’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy allowed it to proceed. The case was allowed to proceed mainly because the plaintiff’s mesothelioma is extremely rare. This makes his case different from most of the other pending cases against J&J.

The plaintiff in this case, A.H.V., filed his legal claim in 2022 after being diagnosed with a rare kind of mesothelioma. A.H.V. said that he developed mesothelioma in the tissue around his heart. This kind of mesothelioma is called pericardial mesothelioma.  Research suggests that approximately 350 cases of this form of mesothelioma have ever been reported. According to the plaintiff, he developed pericardial mesothelioma because of the prolonged use of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder as a child.

Companies facing asbestos exposure claims are rarely willing to accept liability and pay mesothelioma victims or families of victims the compensation they deserve. Companies in asbestos claims and lawsuits are usually represented by skilled attorneys armed with several defense strategies. And the truth is that some of the defenses defendants’ attorneys present in mesothelioma cases are quite strong. For this reason, it is vital that if you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma and you plan to file an asbestos exposure claim against the negligent party or parties, you hire a skilled attorney to represent you in your claim. In the legal system, there is a balance between the claimant’s and defendant’s interests. Defendants have the right to raise defenses, and claimants have the right to dispute the defenses raised by the defense side.

As someone planning to file a mesothelioma claim, it is crucial that you are aware of the possible defenses companies in asbestos exposure claims use. The following are a few of the defenses defendants in mesothelioma cases use.

Alternative Exposure

For purposes of this article, the deceased Navy veteran will be referred to as E.E.

In a recent mesothelioma case, the Court of Appeals of Washington rejected arguments that Caterpillar presented and allowed a Navy veteran’s widow to recover a $4.5 million jury award. Before Navy veteran E.E. died of mesothelioma, he and his wife filed a legal claim against several companies they blamed for the illness. E.E. and his wife claimed that E.E. suffered asbestos exposure because of working with asbestos-contaminated pipe insulation while serving aboard the USS Curtiss. The USS Curtiss was the first purpose-built seaplane tender made for the U.S. Navy. E.E. and his wife also claimed that between 1955 and 1967, E.E. suffered asbestos exposure while working for several employers as a mechanic doing maintenance work on Caterpillar bulldozers. Apart from Caterpillar Inc., all the companies that were sued settled the claim out of court. Caterpillar Inc. filed a motion for summary judgment, but the court denied it. This resulted in the case against Caterpillar Inc. proceeding to court.

Unfortunately, the Navy veteran died before his case could be concluded. Fortunately, before E.E. passed away, he recorded a deposition about how he was exposed to asbestos. So in court, the jury listened to this testimony. The jury also listened to testimony from some expert witnesses and a corporate representative of the defendant. After listening to all testimonies, the jury members decided to award approximately $6.5 million in damages. E.E.’s estate was awarded $331,928 for economic damages and $3 million for E.E.’s pain and suffering. E.E.’s wife was awarded $2 million for loss of consortium, and E.E.’s children were awarded a total of $700,000. The $6.5 million award was offset by $1.5 million for other settlements that had already been reached, so in the end, the award stood at $4.5 million.

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