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$________ - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IN THE WORKPLACE - MESOTHELIOMA - WRONGFUL DEATH.

Middlesex County, Mass. (31263)

This was an action brought by the estate of the decedent mesothelioma victim, who allegedly suffered toxic exposure to the defendant’s asbestos-containing products over an extended period during the course of his lengthy employment at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard. It was undisputed that the decedent contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, but the defendant contended that the condition was caused by asbestos-containing products manufactured by other companies to which the decedent was exposed during the earlier portion of his employment at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard.

The evidence indicated that the decedent worked at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard as a pipefitter from ________ to ________. From ________ to ________, the decedent worked in the shipyard in the capacity of buyer and expediter. The plaintiff was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from mesothelioma of which he died in ________. Suit was initially brought against the defendant and several other companies which supplied asbestos-containing products to the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard during the decedent’s 22 year period of employment. Those companies which supplied the Shipyard with asbestos-containing products from ________ to ________ settled out of the case prior to trial and the case proceeded solely against the defendant Owens-Corning, a supplier of asbestos-containing products to the Shipyard from ________ to ________, when the decedent worked in the Shipyard as a buyer and expediter.

The plaintiff offered the testimony of several of the decedent’s co-workers to substantiate the plaintiff’s claim that the defendant’s products were present at the shipyard during the time period in question. The plaintiff presented a state of the art expert who testified that the defendant had knowledge of the dangers of asbestos exposure and the toxicity of its product during the time period in which it continued to supply its product to the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard. The defendant contended that the decedent worked solely as a buyer and an expediter during the time period in question and that the duties required of this job did not cause him to come in contact with asbestos containing products on a regular basis. The defendant maintained that the decedent’s allegedly minimal irregular exposure to the defendant’s products did not constitute a significant contributing factor in the development of the decedent’s mesothelioma. The defendant contended that the decedent’s mesothelioma was solely attributable to his earlier exposure to products supplied to the shipyard by the settling defendants during the course of his work as a pipefitter. The defendant presented an expert pulmonologist who testified as to the latency period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of mesothelioma symptomatology, based upon which he concluded that the decedent’s fatal condition was unrelated to his later exposure to the defendant’s products, but was a direct result of the decedent’s earlier exposure to other products while working as a pipefitter.

The plaintiff’s expert pathologist testified that the decedent’s death was caused by mesothelioma occasioned by his exposure to asbestos in the workplace. The plaintiff’s expert occupational health/pulmonology specialist testified that all of the decedent’s exposures to asbestos-containing products, not just the early exposures, significantly contributed to the decedent’s fatal condition. The testimony established that as a buyer and expediter, the decedent was required to continually check for broken boxes of product and to insure that there were a sufficient number of boxes of the subject product present. The plaintiff’s expert testified that these activities caused the decedent to continually and routinely come in contact with the asbestos-containing products manufactured by the defendant during the relevant time period. The defendant’s expert countered that due to the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and the onset of resulting mesothelioma symptoms, the decedent’s condition would have to have been attributable to the earlier, more direct exposures.

The defendant’s highest settlement offer was $________. The jury found for the plaintiff and returned a verdict of $________. The defendant was entitled to an offset of prior settlements with other jointly and severally liable defendant’s who had settled out of the case prior to trial. Plaintiff’s occupational health/pulmonologist: David Christiani from Boston. Plaintiff’s expert pathologist: Joseph Corson from Boston. Defendant’s expert pulmonologist: Peter Jederlinic from Worcester. Defendant’s state-of-the-art expert: Joseph Wagoner of Va. Taylor vs. Owens- Corning Fiberglas. Judge James P. Lynch, Jr., 9-90. Attorneys for plaintiff: Edward Paul Coady of Ashcraft & Gerel in Boston and Edward T. Dangel, III of Dangel & deBenedectis in Boston; Attorneys for defendant: William Dixon and Jonathan Karon of Tucker & Biegel in Boston.