The tale of how former U.S. Navy Aviation Storekeeper Gordon Smeal came to be diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma is a familiar one. The veteran was repeatedly and continuously exposed to asbestos during more than three-and-a-half years of his service on board the U.S.S. Intrepid and the U.S.S. Wasp. Yet when Mr. Smeal filed a personal injury lawsuit against the companies responsible for the placement of that asbestos onboard both ships, defendants immediately deny their liability and argue that the case should be dismissed. Last month Judge Manuel J. Mendez of the Supreme Court of New York County denied Air & Liquid Systems Corporations motion for summary judgment to dismiss the complaint and ordered that the case should proceed.
Mesothelioma Victim’s Asbestos Exposure Came From Clean-Up Duties
Mr. Smeal was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in April of 2018, and quickly realized that his illness was a result of exposure to asbestos that came during his years of service. In his deposition he detailed his work onboard both ships, starting in March of 1957 when he worked on the U.S. Intrepid in the Brooklyn Navy Yard while it was being rehauled and his years onboard the U.S. Wasp from 1957 to 1960, when it too was in dry dock.
During both of these tours of duty, Mr. Smeal’s duties involved clean up all over the ship. He indicated that he did not perform any work on the defendant’s motors or pumps, but remembered contractors removing covers and gaskets from the equipment, creating the dust that he breathed in while cleaning up. He also was tasked with disposing of the material that had been removed.
Asbestos Company Argues That Victim Can’t Prove Their Products Caused His Illness
As so many other asbestos companies facing mesothelioma lawsuits have done in the past, Air & Liquid Systems Corporation argued against being held responsible for Mr. Smeal’s illness, saying that there is no proof that it was their product that caused his illness. But Judge Mendez ruled that plaintiffs are not required to show the precise cause of their damages. Instead, they are only required to provide “facts and conditions from which defendant’s liability may be reasonably inferred.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, you need a strong advocate working on your behalf and providing you with access to important resources. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to support you. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.