A contentious mesothelioma trial has ended with a California jury finding Metalclad Insulation LLC negligent and awarding more than $2.5 million to a retired Navy admiral and his wife. In addition to hearing testimony, the jury witnessed significant clashes between attorneys in the case, with the victim’s attorney praising his bravery and service while opposing counsel argued that the 82-year-old victim was too old to be awarded any amount of money.
Navy Veteran Sickened by Metalclad Insulation
The mesothelioma victim in the California trial was 82-year-old Ronald Wilgenbusch. The retired rear admiral and his wife filed a negligence suit against Metalclad, accusing them of failure to recall or warn about the dangers posed by asbestos in their insulation. The company had provided the material to the Navy from the 1950s and continued to do so through 1980, despite also offering asbestos abatement services. They never marked their products with warnings, safe handling instructions or safety data.
In response to the family’s claims, the attorney representing Metalclad faulted the mesothelioma victim for not having researched the product himself, and denigrated his service and diligence. She said, “You have to ask yourself, how is it that a very ambitious, soon-to-be admiral somehow manages not to know one single thing about most toxic material that’s on every single ship? How could he have escaped that knowledge? It was being discussed, and the Navy was the user.” The attorney for Metalclad also accused the victim of lying about his condition.
Mesothelioma Attorney Defends Client
In response to the attacks on his client, the victim’s attorney argued that the mesothelioma victim should not been forced to end his life fighting a man-made disease that the company had known was a risk, saying, “This is a work-related disease, it’s not a natural disease. He’s spent his whole life meeting his enemy head on … this is an enemy he can’t see. For him it’s an admission of failure. For him there is no future, except extreme pain and more time in the hospital and the loss of his own senses.” The jury decided to provide the retired rear admiral $1.8 million in noneconomic and economic damages and awarded his wife $750,000.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it might have been caused by the negligence of an asbestos company. For information about your options, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.