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Appeals court sides with defendants in asbestos case

Those in North Carolina and throughout the U.S. are likely aware of the reality that workers who were exposed to asbestos, especially decades ago when protective gear was not deemed necessary, are being diagnosed and dying from mesothelioma in significant numbers. One woman went to court recently after her husband contracted the serious illness and sought damages in charges involving product liability.

The recent case involving a man suffering from mesothelioma after years of working around asbestos illustrates the importance of having legal representation and a well-prepared case.

The woman claimed her husband had developed malignant mesothelioma during the time he was serving aboard the U.S.S. Guadalcanal, due to exposure to asbestos. The lawsuit argued that he had worked with dangerous products manufactured by the two defendants. He worked in the ship's engine and boiler rooms. The two defendants are both manufacturers of hardware used in such areas.

The appeals court hearing the case determined there was no direct evidence that the companies had supplied hardware with material containing asbestos. One of the companies specifically supplied parts that were uninsulated, and the attorney for the defense was able to show that any insulation would have been attached by the U.S. Navy or its shipbuilder according to military specifications when the ship was built in 1961.

Although the plaintiff's position was supported by one of her husband's former shipmates who stated the man would have come in contact with asbestos during his years in the Navy, the appeals court noted it was not proven that any such exposure was a result of the defendants' products.

The process of holding negligent parties accountable for manufacturing dangerous products can be complex. However, in many similar cases, victims of asbestos-related diseases are able to secure compensation from manufacturers of products that contain asbestos. This compensation can be very helpful for victims who must deal with medical bills, lost wages and other financial hardships.

Source: Legal Newsline, "Mass. appeals court sides with turbine, valve manufacturers," Jessica M. Karmasek, Feb. 14, 2013

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