Though the courtroom setup was adjusted in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing did nothing to diminish a New Orleans’ jury from delivering justice in a recently held mesothelioma trial. After hearing testimony about the longshoreman’s exposure to raw asbestos from ships in the 1960s, the jury awarded the man $10.3 million in compensation.
Stevedoring and Shipping Companies’ Negligence Blamed for Mesothelioma
The mesothelioma lawsuit filed by Henry Pete named several companies, including Ports America Gulfport Inc., Cooper T. Smith Stevedoring Co., Inc. and South African Marine Corp. as defendants. His claim against them cited asbestos exposure during his work loading and unloading cargo on the wharfs of New Orleans from 1964 through 1968 as the cause of his fatal illness.
In his testimony, Mr. Pete discussed his heartbreak at learning that he had mesothelioma. He said that he and other African American workers had commonly been assigned the most dangerous jobs on the wharf, and testified that he had never been warned that the cargo he was handling was dangerous. He testified that his late father had also been assigned to handle asbestos when he’d been a longshoreman. He indicated that he had likely been further exposed to the risk of mesothelioma by having contact with his father’s dust-covered work clothes.
Jury Award Reflects Realities of a Mesothelioma Diagnosis
In its decision, the jury agreed with Mr. Pete’s assertion that the companies had known or should have known of the risk of mesothelioma posed by asbestos exposure, and that instead of warning him they had “ignored or concealed such information, or condoned such concealment, in order to sell or use asbestos or asbestos-containing products and to avoid litigation by those who were injured from asbestos inhalation.”
The $10.3 million mesothelioma award provided compensation amounts of $2 million for past and future physical pain and suffering, $2.3 million for past and future mental pain and suffering, $3 million for past and future physical disability, $2.5 million for past and future loss of enjoyment of life, and over $551,000 for past medical expenses.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after having been exposed to asbestos, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net have valuable resources to help you face the many challenges of the disease. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.