Asbestos Lawsuit Results in $71M Damage Verdict for Mesothelioma Injury

A former U.S. Navy machinist who was exposed to asbestos over a number of years has been awarded $71 million in a mesothelioma lawsuit

The complaint was filed by Richard Whalen and his wife, Linda, against packing and gasket manufacturer John Crane. Whalen worked as a machinist mate and nuclear inspector on U.S. Navy submarines from 1964 to 1990, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2013.

The asbestos lawsuit claimed that Whalen was exposed to the toxic substances, in part, because of working on and around packing and gaskets made by John Crane. At trial, it was alleged that the company knew its asbestos-based products posed a serious risk to human health but failed to warn workers or provide them with the proper protection.

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Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.

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On October 30, the Alameda County jury hearing the case found the company negligent and determined that it had failed to warn Whalen of the risks of working with its equipment, which was defective in design.

Whalen was awarded $40 million in non-economic damages, $861,113 in economic damages, and his wife was awarded $30 million for loss of consortium. However, the jury ruled that the company was only 3% responsible for his overall injuries overall.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, which is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and breathing asbestos fibers. It is a lethal disease that is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy.

Abestos lawsuits are the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a case against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other related injuries that were allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos in the course of her employment, in recent years there have been a growing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought on behalf of spouses, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.

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