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U.S. Navy Veteran Awarded $32 Million in Mesothelioma Case

August 23, 2011

A U.S. military veteran that developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during his time with the Navy was awarded $32 million in his mesothelioma lawsuit.

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A U.S. military veteran that developed mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during his time with the Navy was awarded $32 million in his mesothelioma lawsuit.

The jury found that Ronald Dummitt, 68, developed pleural mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos when he was working as a fireman and boiler tender aboard seven different Navy ships from 1960 to 1977.

Further, the jury determined that the asbestos exposure occurred when Dummitt was repairing valves that were manufactured by Crane Co. This work involved the removal and replacement of gaskets, lagging pads, and packing, all of which contained asbestos fibers.

In addition, the jury found that Dummitt was exposed to asbestos-containing materials when he was removing and replacing lagging pads and manhole gaskets on deareating feed tanks manufactured by Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc.

After deliberation, the jury awarded Dummitt $16 million for past pain and suffering and $16 million for future pain and suffering; they found that both Crane Co. and Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc. acted recklessly in failing to warn product users about the dangers of asbestos exposure.

The jury assigned the majority of the fault, 99 percent, to Crane Co., and assigned 1 percent of the responsibility to Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc.

“While no amount of money can restore Mr. Dummitt’s health, this verdict is just, and it represents all that we can do to set things right. The jury identified the culprits and the degree to which they contributed to his fatal disease, and to that extent, the truth prevailed,” Dummitt’s attorney stated.

The nine-week trial of Ronald Dummitt and Doris Kay Dummitt v. A.W. Chesterton, et al. (No. 190196/10) took place in the Supreme Court of New York, New York County before Judge Joan Madden.

The plaintiff’s attorneys presented a wealth of evidence during the trial, including the testimony of an expert in occupational medicine, a public health expert, and a materials analyst. These experts detailed how Dummitt developed mesothelioma, and how the incurable cancer has affected Dummitt’s life.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that has a long latency period. Once the symptoms of mesothelioma are presented, the cancer has typically progressed to its later stages. This diminishes patients’ chances of successful treatment and recovery.

There are three types of mesothelioma: pleural, pericardial, and peritoneal mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs. It is the most common type of mesothelioma, accounting for about 75 percent of mesothelioma cases.

All forms of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is naturally occurring mineral fiber that was used in many building materials until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned use of the material in 1989. Unfortunately, there are still thousands of mesothelioma victims getting diagnosed with the disease today. Many of these victims were exposed to the dangerous substance in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your legal options. An experienced lawyer may be able to obtain compensatory damages for you and your family.

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