Our client was retired and living in the same community along the banks of the Mississippi River where he had lived and worked for most of his life. Locals refer to the River Parishes along the Mississippi River as “Cancer Alley.” The area is known for having one of the highest rates of cancer deaths in the nation. Most people in the River Parishes work or have worked in water-based or chemical refinery jobs, where asbestos exposure is a significant risk.
Like most people in the area, our client had been exposed to asbestos throughout his life. He had worked in shipyards and on docks, as a stevedore, as a boilermaker, and as a supervisor at a shipping facility that refurbished vessels and tanks. He worked with cranes and heavy equipment that contained asbestos in their brakes, asbestos-containing boilers used in ship making, and containers lined with asbestos used to transport goods such as oil and grain.
He was diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 78.
Mesothelioma Diagnosis Motivates Family to Seek Legal Help
Our client was a hard-working man and beloved father. Prior to the diagnosis of mesothelioma, he was very active in his life and with his family. His wife had passed away before he became ill, but he was very close with his four adult children. He enjoyed his relationship with his teenaged and young adult grandchildren, and he took pride in caring for his lawn and home.
The diagnosis of mesothelioma was heartbreaking for the client and his family. They acted quickly to get answers. After learning a little more about their potential legal rights, they reached out to attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault for help filing a mesothelioma claim.
Wes Gralapp of Neblett, Beard & Arsenault grew up in the same area the client lived. He immediately sympathized with the man and his family. They agreed to work on the case together, and we began preparing the necessary documentation and talking with the client about his history of exposure.
Proof of Asbestos Exposure Is Key to Settling Mesothelioma Cases
“The hard thing about asbestos-related illness,” Wes says, “is that it’s almost impossible to determine which asbestos exposure caused mesothelioma for someone. It only takes a sliver of asbestos to cause mesothelioma, but asbestos is everywhere.”
It is important to understand that, in mesothelioma cases, the client’s exposure may have happened decades before there was any sign of cancer. Through research and personal interviews, attorneys working on behalf of mesothelioma victims must identify and look at many sources of asbestos exposure over someone’s lifetime. After exposure sources and potential liability have been identified, it may be necessary go through special processes to recover sums of money from companies that have gone bankrupt or closed over the years.
To prove our client’s exposure to asbestos, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault looked at Social Security employment records and his family history. We listened to the personal stories of former employees where the client had worked and used an available database to determine what sources of asbestos were in those facilities. The purpose was to track down detailed records about:
- The specific models and brands of equipment that had been used at each location
- What sources of asbestos were on each site
- Who manufactured each asbestos-containing product
We identified many sources where our client had worked that could have exposed him to asbestos, and we linked the client’s illness to several sources. It was determined that, due to laws that applied at the time our client worked, our client had the right to make a recovery against employers who owned and operated asbestos-containing facilities. Ultimately, the suit was filed against nearly a dozen defendants.
Surviving Family Members Recover Approximately $2.5 Million After Client Succumbs to Aggressive Disease
Mesothelioma is an aggressive disease, and it rapidly took its toll on our client. Despite his treatment, he was withering away and losing his will to fight. Over the short time we had known him, he had lost more than 50 pounds fighting the disease.
The client and his family had a difficult time dealing with his battle with the disease. and we did what we could to ease the burden and keep them informed. At each stage of the case, we visited each family member personally, often traveling out of town to talk with them and reassure them in their homes. We also mourned with them when, just four short months after his diagnosis, the client succumbed to the disease.
Although the client passed away before his case resolved, his family was able to “inherit” the case and continue fighting for fair compensation. With our experienced help, the case settled in mediation, saving the surviving family from the stress of going to trial. Ultimately, the client’s adult children recovered approximately $2.5 million against multiple defendants as a result of his death.
Mesothelioma is a tragic and aggressive disease. If you have questions about your family’s legal rights after a mesothelioma diagnosis, or if you need help proving that you were exposed to asbestos, reach out to our experienced attorneys today for more information and a personal case review.