A malignant mesothelioma diagnosis comes decades after a person is exposed to asbestos, and this poses significant challenges for pursuing compensation. The passage of time makes it nearly impossible for many to prove that they worked with a specific product, and asbestos companies have used that fact to have personal injury lawsuits dismissed. But when one Navy veteran faced this issue, the Rhode Island Superior Court ruled that by providing related information about his circumstances he’d met the burden of proof needed to move forward and seek justice in front of a jury.
Navy Veteran’s Mesothelioma Blamed on Shipboard Products
The groundbreaking decision came in response to a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants in a mesothelioma lawsuit. Paul F. McCarthy, a U.S. Navy veteran diagnosed with the rare form of cancer, filed suit against manufacturers whose asbestos-containing products were onboard the U.S.S. Glennon when he’d served on the ship between June 1951 and June 1955.
When the mesothelioma victim filed his lawsuit he was only able to remember the products that he’d worked with and was unable to name manufacturers of the asbestos-contaminated products. On that basis the companies filed to have the case dismissed, but the Rhode Island Superior Court denied their motion. The Court referred to legal precedent that specified how a plaintiff like Mr. McCarthy could “sufficiently allege contact with a defendant’s asbestos-containing product,” and indicated that he had met that bar.
Proximity to Asbestos Assumed Through Documents Provided by Mesothelioma Victim
Though Mr. McCarthy was unable to recall specific manufacturers’ names when seeking justice for his mesothelioma, he found other evidence to prove the asbestos companies’ roles. These included “historical documents to show a range of years during which the Defendants supplied equipment to the Glennon, and Mr. McCarthy’s sworn statement described his contact and proximity to those products and areas of the ship that allegedly contained asbestos.”
In its decision, the court determined that McCarthy had provided enough evidence to link the named defendants to his mesothelioma, but also indicated that this type of decision needed to be made on a “case-by-case” basis and relied upon extremely specific supporting information including the precise time period during which he served on the ship.
Mesothelioma victims seeking justice from asbestos companies need guidance, resources and support, and the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to provide it. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.