Exposure to Asbestos Blamed for Mesothelioma in Two Brothers

Malignant mesothelioma is an insidious disease that advances invisibly for decades, then suddenly makes itself known and claims the lives of its victims. It is caused by exposure to asbestos but does not manifest symptoms until decades after that exposure, then often kills within months of diagnosis. As painful as the disease is for patients it may be worse for their families, who have to watch helplessly as their loved ones succumb to a disease that could have been avoided if only asbestos product companies had acted to protect them. So imagine the pain of the Erhardt family of Connecticut, where not one but two brothers were diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer.

Mesothelioma Lawsuit Details Asbestos Exposure from BMW Brake Pads

The mesothelioma lawsuit against BMW of North America and dozens of other defendants was filed by Helmut Erhardt in the United States District Court of Connecticut. Mr. Erhardt was diagnosed with peritoneal epithelioid mesothelioma after years of working as the parts manager and later as sales manager and then general manager at Ridgefield European Motors in Ridgefield, Connecticut. 

A recent hearing on the case saw BMW file a motion to preclude testimony from Mr. Erhardt’s expert witnesses as well as to have the entire mesothelioma case dismissed.  Remarkably, in the course of presenting evidence it came to light that Mr. Erhardt’s longtime employment at Ridgefield was a function of the repair shop being owned by his brother Eric, who had already passed away after his own mesothelioma diagnosis.  Much of the testimony that is scheduled for presentation to the jury details the cumulative exposure to asbestos that both Mr. Erhardt and his brother would have endured from being “often present when technicians sanded new asbestos brakes and clutches prior to their installation, and they used compressed air to remove asbestos debris.”

BMW Objects to Expert Witnesses’ Mesothelioma Testimony

Though BMW sought dismissal of the expert witnesses that Mr. Erhardt selected to testify about his mesothelioma and its causes, the court determined that there was nothing to support the company’s assertion that their testimony should not be admitted. In their decision the judges wrote, “Ultimately, the issues raised by BMW NA may carry the day at trial, and a jury may find the evidence presented through the testimony of Dr. rank, Dr. Zhang and Mr. Ewing insufficient to prove that exposure to BMW NA’s products caused Mr. Erhardt’s mesothelioma. But that is a factual matter for the jury to decide, not a judgment for this Court to make.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or any other asbestos-related disease, it is essential that you have experts working on your behalf. For information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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