George C. Proctor died of malignant mesothelioma on March 23rd, 2019, just a year after he was first diagnosed with the rare form of cancer. Though he had little time between diagnosis and death, Mr. Proctor was able to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against several companies whose products he held responsible for exposing him to asbestos and causing his fatal illness. One of those manufacturers, Burnham LLC, filed a motion for summary judgment to try to escape litigation, but Manuel J. Mendez of the Supreme Court of New York County denied their motion, indicating that the company had failed to meet its burden of presenting evidence to “unequivocally establish that its products could not have contributed to the causation of [his] his injury.”
Deposition revealed exposure to defendant’s asbestos-contaminated boilers
During the course of a deposition that Mr. Proctor gave prior to his death from mesothelioma, he explained that he had spent years working for Vanderlin Electrical Contractors in 1963, and in that capacity was frequently exposed to Burnham boilers. He explained that the boilers were branded with the Burnham name, that they had been “unjacketed” on arrival at Weslyn College and that asbestos jackets had been applied around them. He described insulation workers applying an asbestos cement mix to the exterior of the boiler, and remembered the dust that became airborne in the process.
Mr. Proctor specifically recalled packaging that identified the material being used in the cement as being asbestos, the material that causes mesothelioma. He also remembered removing insulation from the oilers in order to access valves, and breathing in the dust that was created during both application and removal.
Burnham acknowledged use of asbestos-containing insulation
Though Burnham acknowledged recommending the use of asbestos-containing insulation for installation of their boilers, the company argued that Mr. Proctor had failed to establish their duty to warn of the dangers of asbestos or the risk of mesothelioma that those exposed to it faced. The judge disagreed with their argument of insufficient evidence to prove their case. The case will proceed to trial, and Mr. Proctor’s survivors will be able to proceed with a wrongful death claim against the company.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is easy to feel as if the world is working against you. The good news is that there are plenty of people who want to help, including the compassionate Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.