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U.S. Navy Blamed for Navy Veteran's Wife's Mesothelioma

Posted by Michael Throneberry | Jul 01, 2024

For purposes of this article, the mesothelioma victim in this case will be referred to as G.R.P. and her husband as H.J.P.

The U.S. Navy finds itself as a defendant in a mesothelioma lawsuit filed by the family of a woman, G.R.P., who died of malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2020 after developing the illness through second-hand asbestos exposure. It is rare for the U.S. Navy to be named as a defendant, but in this case, the claimants, five sisters, blame the federal government's negligence for the death of their mother, G.R.P. The lawsuit accuses the U.S. Navy of failing to obey mandatory asbestos safety precautions when Mrs. G.R.P.'s husband served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1974.

During his time in the U.S. Navy, Mr. H.J.P., the deceased's husband, was constantly exposed to asbestos, a toxic substance that can cause mesothelioma and other aggressive and fatal illnesses. Though H.J.P.'s wife never worked with asbestos, she spent many years doing her husband's laundry while he was in the Navy. Mrs. G.R.P.'s daughters are convinced that she was sickened by the asbestos fibers she was exposed to when doing her husband's laundry. They assert that the government's laws had required that their father be provided with protective clothing, laundry facilities, and/or facilities to shower and change. Mrs. G.R.P.'s daughters also blame the U.S. Navy for failure to warn.

When one of Mrs. G.R.P.'s daughters initially filed the lawsuit, the government filed a motion to have the case dismissed. The government argued that the rule of sovereign immunity protects them. Under the sovereign immunity rule, the federal and state governments cannot be sued without their consent. Mrs. G.R.P.'s daughter responded to this by arguing that there are exceptions to this rule based on the government's failure to exercise or perform a regulation. Since the filing of the lawsuit, the government has raised several other arguments. The Navy argued that the deceased did not have mesothelioma. It argued that its actions in the early 1970s were appropriate based on the knowledge of asbestos risks at that time. The Navy argued that Mrs. G.R.P.'s exposure could have happened elsewhere. The U.S. Navy also argued that the asbestos safety protocols at the shipyard were merely advisory, thus exempting them from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

In response, the plaintiffs said that the safety precautions were mandatory and not merely advisory. According to the family's legal representative, the mandates required the U.S. Navy to not only provide workers with PPE but also monitor the air in the Navy Yard City neighborhood. After considering all arguments, the judge decided there were enough issues of fact in the case for it to be heard by a jury. This was in 2023.

Recently, Mrs. G.R.P.'s daughters' efforts to have their case heard finally paid off as the hearing of the case commenced in a Seattle courtroom.

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 pay for your medical treatment and 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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