Lorraine Allen lost her husband Peter to malignant pleural mesothelioma in October of 2017. The Navy veteran died just 15 months after he was diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related disease, which he blamed on equipment made by Armstrong Pumps Company. After Peter’s death, Lorraine filed a wrongful death claim against the company seeking compensation for her loss and for the damage her husband had suffered. Though the company tried to have the case dismissed, Judge Manuel J. Mendez of the Supreme Court, New York County ruled against them and allowed the widow’s case to move forward.
Crumbling Asbestos Insulation Blamed for Mesothelioma
Decades before his mesothelioma diagnosis, Mr. Allen had served as an Electrician’s Mate above the U.S.S. Marquette and a ship called LST 528 which was later renamed U.S. S. Catahoula Parish. He testified that during his years of service he had worked just a foot away from Machinist Mates working on pumps from which crumbling asbestos insulation, insulators and dust spread through the air. When asked he had been unable to identify the pumps’ manufacturer because the labels had been painted over with “battleship grey” paint. He also noted having worked around asbestos-contaminated pumps of all kinds located throughout the ships.
Company Denies Mesothelioma Claim Based on Painted-Over Labels
Following the filing of Mrs. Allen’s mesothelioma lawsuit, representatives for Aurora filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Mr. Allen’s inability to specifically identify them as the pump’s manufacturer precluded their being held responsible for his illness. In doing so, they relied upon the affirmation of their attorney via email. They also argued that their pumps had been located in a different area of the ship from where Mr. Allen had indicated he’d worked in proximity to the machinists’ mates who were doing repairs.
Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss in Mesothelioma Lawsuit
In response to their motion, the judge ruled against Aurora’s request for dismissal, indicating that the attorney’s affirmation represented hearsay and was therefore inadmissible in support of their argument. He also noted that Mr. Allen had not been responsible for actually working on the pumps and as a result might not have been able to provide a detailed description but had indicated several locations where pumps were installed throughout the ship where he had worked. The case will move on to be heard by a jury.
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