Nearly fifty years after Dennis Woodruff was exposed to asbestos while dismantling World War II Navy ships he was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Last week a Tacoma jury awarded him $11.2 million in damages, making the company that failed to protect him responsible for the harm that he suffered.
Exposure to Asbestos Insulation in Navy Ships Led to Malignant Mesothelioma
Mr. Woodruff traces his mesothelioma diagnosis back to the years that he worked for Zidell Dismantling in Tacoma, Washington. Between 1970 and 1973 his employer contracted to dismantle World War II ships that contained hazardous levels of asbestos within its insulation. During testimony in the case he testified that he had not been informed of the dangers of asbestos and did not wear any respiratory protection. Witnesses provided supporting testimony describing the dusty conditions that the dismantling process created.
In his mesothelioma lawsuit Mr. Woodruff named both Zidell’s siter company, Zidell Explorations, and the Port of Tacoma, which owned the land that was used for the dismantling process. The jurors found both to be negligent, but decided that the Port’s negligence had not contributed substantially to his illness. It assigned all damages to the dismantling company. The $11.2 million verdict is thought to be one of the highest jury verdicts in Washington state history.
Dismantling Company Argued Against Mesothelioma Liability
Despite the testimony provided by Mr. Woodruff and others present at the worksite, the Zidell companies attempted to blame the mesothelioma victim for his own illness. They argued that he was responsible because he had not chosen to wear a respirator. In response Mr. Woodruff’s attorneys noted that the company should have warned him about the dangers and protected him. They also pointed out that the company had promised the Port of Tacoma that the work site was safe and that the company would adhere to all safety regulations. Decades later, studies indicate that the ground where the work was done remains contaminated with asbestos.
If you or someone you love has been sickened by mesothelioma after working with asbestos, you may be eligible to file a claim against those responsible. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608