Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, and in the vast majority of cases the people diagnosed with the disease had no idea they were at risk. This is especially the case for those exposed to asbestos carried into their homes by spouses or parents. An example of this tragic scenario was the subject of a recent court decision in California, where a 66-year-old man diagnosed with the disease blamed his father’s employer for his fatal illness.
Cutting Water Pipes Led to Asbestos on Clothing
The case was filed by Alfred and Leticia Mata after Mr. Mata was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma at the age of 66. He blamed his illness on the asbestos that his father, Francisco, carried into their home on the uniform that he wore as an employee of Liberty Utilities (Park Water) Corporation. The elder Mata worked for the company from 1970 to 1989, starting when Alfred was 17. Alfred lived with his father through his entire tenure at Park Water and accused them of negligently causing his illness. His wife sued for loss of consortium.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Francisco Mata’s duties for Park Water included cutting and milling water pipes with a power saw. The pipes were made with asbestos cement, and left his clothing covered with asbestos dust that he carried home after work and which later caused his son’s mesothelioma. A significant amount of testimony was provided showing that asbestos’ dangers were understood and communicated to company owners, but not to employees.
Jury Assigns Majority of Mesothelioma Blame on Father’s Employer
Though there were several companies named as defendants in Mr. Mata’s mesothelioma lawsuit, the jury assigned the majority of the blame for his illness on his father’s employer. They awarded the Mata’s $6.3 million in damages and found Park Water 54 percent responsible. They also assigned the company $5 million in punitive damages but an appeals court overturned that decision, finding that the company had not deliberately disregarded the risk of asbestos exposure.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, we can help. Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.