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Aggressive Defense Can’t Stop $6.95 Million Asbestos Cancer Verdict

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If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma related to long term asbestos exposure, you want to have very experienced and successful legal counsel. Large corporations possess large teams of lawyers and massive financial resources, and can drain plaintiffs dry by drawing out legal proceedings for years.

In a recent case in Alameda County CA, a vigorous defense by a large corporation was not enough to prevent a large financial verdict of $6.95 million. In that case, the plaintiff was a boilermaker for Southern Pacific Railroad for more than two decades – from the early 1970s until the mid 1990s. In that time, he was exposed to asbestos daily on the job.

In 2013, he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, and he died just months later from this painful, horrible lung cancer. His widow and family sued Union Pacific Railroad Company, which merged with Southern Pacific in 1997.

In the six week legal proceedings, their attorneys were able to provide testimony from the deceased in a deposition. He said that he was exposed to asbestos fibers as he did his job daily. His lawyers were able to show that the exposure went on for more than a decade AFTER regulations were passed that stated that workers had to be protected from asbestos exposure on the job. However, the deceased was exposed to asbestos for years longer, even though the railroad knew that asbestos exposure can cause painful, deadly lung cancer.

Union Pacific tried to argue that it was immune from the suit because the plaintiff had signed a release of claims after he had a back injury. The court ruled against the defense on this claim, but the company argued that his illness was not asbestos cancer at all, but was actually lung cancer due to his smoking habit.

The deceased’s attorneys showed that asbestos fibers were embedded in his lung tissue. The corporation then argued that the mesothelioma was caused by his earlier service in the Navy.

The jury did not agree with the defense and awarded $6.95 million to the family of the deceased.

Our mesothelioma personal injury law firm in Virginia knows the wily ways of railroad corporations and how they will attempt to wriggle out of their legal responsibilities regarding asbestos cancer. We have worked on cases where the railroad argued that it had no asbestos in any equipment to which a railroad worker would have been exposed. We were able to bring in industrial hygiene experts to show, after a review of internal railroad documents, that workers were obviously exposed to asbestos in their jobs.

That case resulted in a confidential settlement that the surviving family members found satisfactory.

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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