Mesothelioma lawsuits have been compared to emotional roller coasters for good reason. While one day’s court hearing or legal ruling can devastate, a later hearing on the same case can give rise to new hopes. This was recently demonstrated in a California appeals court, where a widow who filed a wrongful death suit against Thomas Dee Engineering Co., Inc. was successful in overturning the earlier decision of a trial judge to dismiss her claim. The appellate court judges decided that the trial judge was wrong to ignore testimony submitted on her behalf by an expert witness.
Widow Will Have Another Day to Prove Mesothelioma Liability
Beth Harris’ husband Michael was a hull maintenance technician on the U.S.S. San Jose from August 1973 to May 1974. He was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in March of 2014, and when died a few months later she filed suit against Thomas Dee Engineering, accusing the company of exposing him to asbestos when its workers replaced asbestos-contaminated boiler components.
Her claim relied on expert witness testimony from certified industrial hygienist William Ewing, but when he gave his deposition he said that asbestos exposure was unlikely if her husband had not been present when Thomas Dee’s employees were actually working on the boiler. He also gave a declaration that asbestos fibers could linger in the air indefinitely and that could have led to his exposure, even hours after they had left the job site. The trial court ignored this declaration and granted the company summary judgment, dismissing the case. Mrs. Harris appealed this decision.
Appeals Panel Says Trial Court’s Decision Was Wrong in Mesothelioma Lawsuit
In handing down its decision, the appeals panel said that ignoring the declaration about the possible cause of Mr. Harris’ mesothelioma was wrong They said that though there had been precedent for disregarding a contradictory declaration, in this case the theory proffered was specifically referred to as being universally recognized and accepted by the scientific community, and therefore was not contradictory to prior testimony on observable facts. The case will proceed to a jury to ultimately decide whether the engineering company was negligent.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you have experienced and knowledgeable guidance. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help connect you with the resources you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.