Baltimore Mesothelioma Lawsuit Results in $10M Verdict

A Baltimore jury has awarded about $10 million in a Maryland mesothelioma lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who developed a rare form of cancer as a result of exposure to asbestos when he was a young child. The asbestos was allegedly carried home by his father when he worked as an engineman on an oil tanker more than 30 years ago.

The verdict was handed down at the end of last month in the Baltimore City Circuit Court on behalf of Leroy Conway, Jr., 45, who sued Baltimore-based ATTRANSCO, who employed Conway’s father between 1974 and 1977. While working in an environment where he would become covered with asbestos dust and asbestos particles, Conway’s father carried asbestos home in his hair and clothes.

Leroy Conway, Jr. alleged that he developed mesothelioma from second hand asbestos exposure when he was about 10 years old.

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Mesothelioma is found in the lining of the chest and lung. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and it is often not diagnosed for 20 to 40 years after exposure. As a result of the long latency period, the cancer is very advanced when it is diagnosed and life expectancy with the disease is limited.

During trial, the former captain of the ship on which Conway’s father worked testified that ATTRANSCO and the crew of the ship knew there was asbestos exposure, but that the company was unaware of the dangers.

The jury disagreed, swayed by evidence brought by the plaintiff that showed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began regulating and warning about asbestos exposure as early as 1971, and that asbestos side effects had been documented by industry since the 1940s.

Conway has already had a lung removed due to the illness, and can no longer work. The jury awarded him $9.6 million for pain and suffering, and $636,000 for medical expenses in the Baltimore mesothelioma lawsuit.

Asbestos litigation is the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first asbestos exposure lawsuit filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.

In recent years, a number of similar lawsuits have been brought by individuals like Conway, who were not directly exposed to asbestos by working around the toxic substance, but by living in the same house as those who came into direct contact. Wives who washed the clothing of their husbands, children who were held by their parents after arriving home from work covered in the fibers, and other similar situations have resulted in successful lawsuits for compensation against the manufacturers of asbestos and products that contain asbestos.

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