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Shapiro & Appleton

Asbestosis Victim Receives $15 Million Award from Jury

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Troy Lofton spent his entire career working in the oil industry for ConocoPhillips handling bags filled to the brim with asbestos. He used to rip these bags open and dump the contents into mud hoppers. Mr. Lofton described looking like a “snowman” after performing this task and breathed in asbestos dust for years. He is now struggling with asbestosis and testified in court with tubes in his nose and ears along with an oxygen bottle that assists his breathing 24 hours a day.

The defense attorneys for ConocoPhilips resorted to using the testimony of an “expert” who alleged it was unlikely that Mr. Lofton had asbestosis even though this “expert” did not review Mr. Lofton’s work history with asbestos. The “expert” eventually acknowledged that Mr. Lofton was a pulmonary cripple (i.e. he will never be able to breathe without assistance again), according to Lawyers USA.

The jury didn’t buy the defense attorney’s argument and sided with Mr. Lofton awarding him $15,200,000 for economic damages, pain and suffering, loss of employment, emotional distress, and fear of cancer.

We are very happy to hear about this verdict. It sends a signal to big corporations who’ve used asbestos in the past and failed to adequately inform and help their employees that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.

Our firm understands how challenging asbestos lawsuits can be. It’s very much like David vs. Goliath. These corporations have millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars at their disposal (a majority of which goes to paying defense attorney fees and “experts”).

We’ve represented multiple railroad workers who are struggling with asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer after being exposed to asbestos in the workplace for decades. For example, our firm represented two rail employees of a large Class One railroad. They were conductors and switchmen employed by the railroad for over twenty years. R.T., the earlier of the two clients, contracted mesothelioma. D.H., the other client, was a switchman employed in the state of Alabama (AL). He performed freight switching activities and wasn’t aware that he was working with or even handling asbestos. Nonetheless, it was apparent that D.H. was exposed to a number of products utilized by the railroads that contained asbestos materials and asbestos insulation, including train cars, locomotive engines, and office buildings and work places that were insulated with asbestos.

Tragically, both clients passed away during the litigation process so we pursued justice on behalf of the families. Fortunately, we reached a settlement that was satisfactory to the families, but it wasn’t easy. Railroad defense attorneys routinely delay and try to deny valid injury/disease claims. Just like in Mr. Lofton’s case, the defense brings in so-called “experts” who have been bought and paid for by the defense to strengthen their side of the case. It can be very difficult to reach a settlement or jury verdict. Nevertheless, we are more than happy to take on the challenge and fight for the interests of injured rail workers who’ve been stricken with these terrible asbestos diseases.

The jury verdict for Mr. Lofton will never be able to fully compensate for the torment he has to endure for the rest of his life, but multi-million dollar verdicts in these cases will hopefully awaken a sense of responsibility in these big companies that they need to be responsible when it comes to workplace safety and taking care of their injured workers. But when they don’t, we’ll be there to help the little guy get justice.

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