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Asbestos Exposure – Product Liability – Failure to Warn – Defective/Dangerous Product – Plaintiff alleged that defendant was responsible for the decedent's asbestos exposure – Mesothelioma – Wrongful Death.

Madison County, IL

In this asbestos matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was one of those entities responsible for the decedent’s exposure to asbestos and failed to warn the decedent regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure. As a result, the plaintiff’s decedent was diagnosed with and died of mesothelioma. The defendant denied that its product was the source of the decedent’s asbestos exposure.

The decedent alleged that various defendants, including boiler manufacturers, joint compound manufacturers, friction product manufacturers, insulation manufacturers and equipment manufacturers were responsible for the decedent’s exposure to asbestos which resulted in his death from mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s decedent worked on Navy ships while serving as a Navy machinist mate from ________ to ________ and again from ________ through ________ ranging from his exposure to insulation products to boilers and steam equipment.

The plaintiff further alleged that the decedent was exposed to asbestos while working in a civilian capacity as a boiler operator, salesman and waste water treatment consultant. The plaintiff’s claims against all defendants except defendant Crane Co. were disposed of or dismissed prior to trial. The plaintiff alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos associated with gaskets and packing used with the defendant’s valves and pumps and from allegedly using the defendant’s gaskets aboard the United States Navy ships. The plaintiff argued that the defendant failed to provide a warning about the hazards associated with asbestos gaskets and packing and that the defendant had, or should have had, knowledge regarding alleged asbestos health hazards with those products during the time of the decedent’s service.

The defendant denied the allegations. In accordance with the Illinois Nolan decision, the defendant presented evidence that the decedent’s significant alternative exposures to insulation and other amosite asbestos-containing materials aboard Navy ships were the sole proximate cause of the decedent’s illness; and that the defendant’s products did not contribute in any way whatsoever. The defendant presented that the United States Navy controlled the decisions to specify the use of asbestos products, including asbestos, if any, used in connection with the defendant’s valves and that the Navy controlled the decedent’s workspaces. The defendant also contended that the Navy had extensive knowledge about alleged health hazards and control procedures associated with various asbestos products.

The defendant contended that it was not negligent in incorporating asbestos gaskets or packing because 1) the Navy specified the use of asbestos gaskets and packing; 2) under the state-of-the-art knowledge regarding asbestos seals, asbestos gasket and packing were understood to be safe both during the time when the ships were constructed and during the 1960s when the decedent served in the Navy and 3) that asbestos gaskets and packing are low dose chrysotile products do not cause mesothelioma. The defendant maintained that the plaintiff was mistaken about the defendant’s identification. The defendant argued that the defendant was not a supplier of replacement gaskets and packing to the Navy as the Navy had stated to the plaintiff.

The matter proceeded to trial over a period of nine days.At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated for three and a-half hours and returned its verdict in favor of the defendant and against the plaintiff.

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