Mesothelioma Lawsuit Over Wife’s Exposure at Home Results in $3.5M Verdict

A Washington state jury has awarded $3.5 million to the estate of a woman who died of mesothelioma she contracted from exposure to asbestos carried home on her husband’s work clothes. 

The verdict came in a complaint filed on behalf of Barbara Brandes, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year and died from the rare form of cancer before the trial could be concluded.

According to allegations raised in the case, Brandes regularly washed the work clothes of her husband, Raymond, who worked at ARCO Cherry Point refinery in Ferndale, Washington for a number of years. The lawsuit indicates that the clothes were covered in asbestos dust, resulting in secondary exposure for Barbara.

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Raymond Brandes died of asbestosis and other health problems in January.

The lawsuit was originally filed against seven defendants, including ARCO, Brand Insulations, Kaiser Gypsum, Hanson Permanente Cement, Metalclad Insulation, Metropolitan Life Insurance, and Union Carbide. All reached settlements out of court with the family for undisclosed amounts, with the exception of Brand Insulations, which attempted to fight the case.

Following the recent verdict, the company’s attorney have said they plan to appeal the ruling.

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.

The Brandes case is considered a “take home” asbestos lawsuit, because it involves secondary exposure to asbestos by a family member.

While mesothelioma lawsuits have traditionally been filed by individuals who worked with asbestos-containing products, an increasing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought in recent years on behalf of spouses, children and other family members who 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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