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Despite BAP1 Defense, Judge Awards Mesothelioma Victims $19.4 Million in Damages

The BAP1 defense is a recent entry into the legal machinations being attempted by asbestos defendants when facing litigation from plaintiffs suffering from asbestos. The argument is based upon collaborative research claiming that people who have BAP1 mutations have a predisposition for developing mesothelioma. Asbestos defendants have been using that research to claim that it is that predisposition that caused plaintiffs’ disease rather the asbestos exposure from their previous employment. Despite the ardor of this argument and the expert testimony by the researchers, the most recent case that used this defense has ended with the judge awarding the plaintiff and his wife $19,449,863.

The BAP1 research is the work of a geneticist and professor from the Fox Chase Center Center in Philadelphia and a researcher from the University of Hawaii. Dr. Joseph R. Testa and Dr. Michele Carbone have done extensive work in the field, and cite a number of other studies that have been done on laboratory animals indicating an increased risk of developing malignant mesothelioma following minimal exposure to asbestos. But the two maintain that the cases that they have studied indicate that patients who have the BAP1 mutation and who develop mesothelioma have no record of occupational exposure to the toxic material, thus setting up a potentially explosive counter to claims of negligence in an asbestos lawsuit.

Though the scientific community has accepted that the risk of developing mesothelioma is higher in those that have the BAP1 mutation, they also point to an extensive number of studies that have shown that those who carry the BAP1 mutation tend to live longer than those that do not have it – up to seven times longer.

To date there have only been five instances of asbestos-related litigation in which asbestos defendants have attempted to use the BAP1 mutation defense to counter the claims of plaintiffs with asbestos-related diseases. One of those cases was settled out of court, three are ongoing, and the case referenced here. In this case the plaintiffs were Antonio and Raquel Perez, who filed suit against auto parts supply company Universal Fleet Supply. Perez had worked with asbestos-containing breaks manufactured by the company. Georgia Pacific was another asbestos defendants that attempted to use the BAP1 defense, and went so far as to compel the plaintiffs to submit to a blood test to determine whether they carried the genetic mutation.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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