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Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog

Court Allows Navy Veteran’s Family’s Mesothelioma Case to Proceed

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Apr 21, 2023

Those who served in the Navy made countless sacrifices. Unfortunately, the sacrifices made by Navy service members are bigger than many think. Today, thousands of veterans continue to battle mesothelioma, and many have died from this form of cancer. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops after asbestos exposure. The U.S. Navy is said to be the military branch with the highest rate of asbestos use. Many manufacturers incorporated asbestos in construction materials and products used to build U.S. Navy vessels, even though they knew the dangers of asbestos. Because of this, Navy veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma can pursue justice through the legal system.

If you file a legal claim, it is vital that you work with a skilled attorney who understands the law. A recent case demonstrates this point clearly. This case was not dismissed because it was filed in federal court. Had the lawsuit been filed in a state court, the court would have dismissed the case.

The mesothelioma victim, who for purposes of this article will be referred to as R.E., initially filed the lawsuit in federal court. After he died in 2021, his family continued the case. Mr. R.E. blamed his illness on numerous manufacturers of Navy vessels' parts and equipment. The victim blamed the manufacturers for negligently exposing him to asbestos.

The defendants argued that the court should dismiss the lawsuit because they were just conforming to the specification of the U.S. government. Such a defense is called the government contractor defense. This defense may protect a defendant from a product liability claim arising from their compliance with a federal contract.  Generally, with this defense, it boils down to “I did it because the Government required me to do it.” However, the victim's family argued that the government contractor defense only applies when a claim is made in state court. It does not apply to lawsuits filed under federal maritime law. The court agreed with the Navy veteran's family and denied the asbestos companies' motion to dismiss the case.

In addition to the above argument, the defendants argued that the victim failed to provide enough evidence that their products had caused his mesothelioma. In response, the court pointed to evidence the victim had provided against each asbestos company. The victim provided testimony detailing how he worked asbestos-contaminated products. Others familiar with the companies' products also provided information that proved the products were asbestos-contaminated. The court also noted that the victim was only required to show considerable exposure to the relevant asbestos for a significant amount of time because of the difficulties in establishing causation from work performed many years ago. Ultimately, the court ruled that the victim had provided enough evidence against all defendants. The court ruled that the case should proceed to court and be decided by a jury.

Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyers

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

About the Author

Michael Throneberry

Attorney Michael Throneberry graduated from Purdue University with a Civil Engineering degree. He then served with the United States Army...

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