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ARTICLE ID 31263
$________ - PRODUCTS LIABILITY - ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IN THE WORKPLACE - MESOTHELIOMA - WRONGFUL DEATH.
Middlesex County, Mass.
This was an action brought by the estate of the decedent
mesothelioma victim, who allegedly suffered toxic exposure to the
defendants 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 decedents 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 decedents
co-workers to substantiate the plaintiffs claim that the
defendants 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 decedents allegedly minimal irregular exposure to the
defendants products did not constitute a significant
contributing factor in the development of the decedents
mesothelioma. The defendant contended that the decedents
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 decedents
fatal condition was unrelated to his later exposure to the
defendants products, but was a direct result of the decedents
earlier exposure to other products while working as a pipefitter.
The plaintiffs expert pathologist testified that the decedents
death was caused by mesothelioma occasioned by his exposure to
asbestos in the workplace. The plaintiffs expert occupational
health/pulmonology specialist testified that all of the
decedents exposures to asbestos-containing products, not just
the early exposures, significantly contributed to the decedents
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
plaintiffs 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 defendants expert countered that
due to the long latency period between exposure to asbestos and
the onset of resulting mesothelioma symptoms, the decedents
condition would have to have been attributable to the earlier,
more direct exposures.
The defendants 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 defendants who had settled
out of the case prior to trial. Plaintiffs occupational
health/pulmonologist: David Christiani from Boston. Plaintiffs
expert pathologist: Joseph Corson from Boston. Defendants expert
pulmonologist: Peter Jederlinic from Worcester. Defendants
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.
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- Determine if a case is winnable and recovery amounts.
- Determine reasonable demand for a case early on.
- Support a settlement demand by establishing precedent.
- Research trial strategies, tactics and arguments.
- Defeat or support post-trial motions through past case histories.
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