The U.S. Supreme Court will soon take up arguments in an asbestos cancer lawsuit that could set an important precedent not only for other mesothelioma lawsuit plaintiffs but other innocent people harmed by the negligence of companies that failed to prevent foreseeable injuries. The case was brought by two surviving relatives of a man who developed mesothelioma while working aboard Navy ships, coming in contact with industrial gaskets made with deadly asbestos fibers as part of his job duties.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, entitled Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries, the defendants in the case manufactured equipment for Navy ships that did not contain asbestos themselves, but required replaceable parts manufactured by third parties that used asbestos in the construction. The plaintiffs have asked the court to hold Air and Liquid Systems liable for the victim’s passing because they claim the company knew that its products would need integrated parts manufactured with asbestos gaskets and seals by third parties.
Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the justices hearing the case to apply the “foreseeability” standard of negligence commonly used in maritime injury cases which holds that Air and Liquid Systems could reasonably foresee that aftermarket parts containing deadly chemicals could cause harm. On the other hand, the defense has asked the judges to apply a more simplified standard in tort law, holding that the duty of the party to warn rests with that party that is in the best position to control or avoid the harm, in this case, the gasket maker.
Asbestos was once used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications such as gaskets, compressors, and insulation due to its heat resistant properties and ability to be shaped into many forms. Unfortunately, this widespread application of a carcinogenic substance has had serious implications for hundreds of thousands of innocent people who developed deadly health conditions as a result of exposure, including developing mesothelioma. It was not until the 1970s that federal laws severely restricted the use of asbestos, effectively banning the substance.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of lung cancer that usually affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs but can spread to other vital organs such as the heart and abdominal cavity. The disease is directly linked to exposure to asbestos fibres, which often become lodged in a patient’s lungs after inhaling contaminated air particles. It typically can take anywhere from 20 to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop, which often presents itself as more benign types of medical conditions before physicians are able to make a diagnosis and begin treatment.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.