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Court Reverses Lower Court’s Dismissal of Mesothelioma Lawsuit

When a person is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, one of the decisions they need to make is whether to pursue legal action against those responsible for their exposure to asbestos. They also need to be aware that doing so can be a rollercoaster of emotions, both because they have to confront the greed on the part of asbestos companies, but also because the process can present both victories and disappointments. The family of a carpenter who worked at the Philadelphia Navy Yard from 1967 to 1994 is learning this first hand as they pursue legal action against International Paper Company and Weyerhaeuser Company. Though a lower court had decided to grant the asbestos companies summary judgment and dismiss the case, the family of the late mesothelioma victim appealed that decision, and in May the Superior Court of Pennsylvania decided in their favor that the case could proceed to trial.

Mesothelioma victim’s family fights for justice

The case was brought by the family of Leon Franklin Lamson, who had testified that he regularly repaired and installed the doors, as there were thousands of them on the ships found at the Navy Yard. Though the lower court agreed with the companies that there was insufficient proof that Mr. Lamson had been exposed to asbestos as a result of working on doors manufactured by the companies, the Superior Court reviewed the evidence submitted and disagreed, overruling the lower court’s decision. They analyzed both Mr. Lamson’s testimony about the dust that was raised when he sawed and drilled through the doors, and the companies’ acknowledgment that some of the doors that they manufactured did contain asbestos, writing in part, “Appellant did not need to demonstrate that every fire door contained asbestos in order to survive summary judgment. As a victim of mesothelioma, he needed only to present evidence that asbestos was present in some fire doors manufactured by Appellees. …. Appellees certainly can argue during trial that Appellant failed to show that all of Appellees’ fire doors contained asbestos, but this argument goes to the weight and credibility of the evidence, not its legal sufficiency.”

A mesothelioma diagnosis means ups and downs in all aspects of life. For information on the support and resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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