There’s little question that Navy veteran Herbert H. Mullinex’s malignant mesothelioma comes from exposure to asbestos during his service. He worked on several ships doing shipbuilding and repair. In suing John Crane, Inc., he did so under both federal and maritime law. Though the company has not argued that their product was not responsible, they filed a motion to disallow the use of maritime law. The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia denied their motion and found that admiralty jurisdiction applies.
Maritime Law in Mesothelioma Lawsuits
Maritime law is a separate area of law that entitles those who have been sickened by mesothelioma or suffered other injuries on navigable waters with additional and separate benefits and compensation. In filing their motion to dismiss, Crane argued that only Virginia law should apply to Mr. Mullinex’s claim because the injury occurred while the ships he worked on were docked.
In reviewing the mesothelioma claim, the court applied two tests: the location test and the connection test. The location test asks where Mr. Mullinex was exposed to asbestos, and the court determined that the vast majority of his exposure occurred on vessels on navigable waters. They concluded that it did not matter whether the ships were at sea or docked at a shipyard.
Connection Test Seen As Key to Decision on Motion to Dismiss Mesothelioma Lawsuit
In trying to have the maritime aspect of the mesothelioma lawsuit dismissed, John Crane attempted to say that their products were only “asbestos work” not necessary for naval operations or specific to the Navy. The court wrote in their decision, “While it is true that “asbestos work” in general is not inherently related to the traditional application of admiralty law, the sale of an asbestos-containing product geared toward the proper functioning of Navy ships places the Plaintiffs’ allegations squarely in a context that interests admiralty law.” The court denied the Motion to Dismiss, finding that it is clearly applicable to this case.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or suffered an asbestos-related injury, knowledge of your rights and applicable law is essential to getting justice. For more information or assistance, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet