Lawsuit over Mesothelioma Death of Navy Sailor Results in $3M Verdict

 A Virginia jury has awarded $6 million to the estate of a U.S. Navy officer who died of mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.

The wife of Petty Officer Robert Hardick filed the lawsuit over mesothelioma against John Crane Inc. and Garlock Sealing Technologies for Hardick’s death in March 2009. According to a report by the Newport News Daily Press, Hardick contracted mesothelioma from breathing asbestos fibers while serving on the U.S.S. Newport News, a Des Moines-Class heavy cruiser, and other ships from the 1950s through the 1970s.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the asbestos fibers were contained in parts provided to the Newport News Naval Shipyard by Garlock and John Crane. The Newport News Circuit Court jury divided the $6 million award between the two companies.

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Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and it is often not diagnosed until decades 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.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, particularly shipbuilding, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s. Despite the ban, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the number of mesothelioma deaths continues to rise each year due to the latency period, with the number expected to peak in 2010.

Asbestos mesothelioma lawsuits are the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first asbestos exposure case 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.


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