Mesothelioma and Asbestos Personal Injury Case Study...



The following mesothelioma and asbestos personal injury case example illustrates some important legal issues involved in these types of cases. We discuss background information, liability, injuries, negotiations, and the final case resolution.

Case Background...

Alice worked as a seamstress for Kailey and Co., an international dressmaking business, in a building built in the late 19th century which contained asbestos. Periodically, they would find dust and fibers on the floor, however Kailey and Co. never required their maintenance workers to remediate or remove this dust.

Kailey and Co. paid $28,000 to have a study performed on the building to determine the levels of asbestos exposure after seeing mesothelioma and asbestos personal injury lawsuit commercials. As a result of the study, they found that not only was the asbestos at a terribly high level but the dust on the floor was also toxic.

They concealed the results of the study and failed to inform Alice or the other 2,000 workers at Kailey and Co. that they were being exposed to asbestos daily. Alice had been sick lately and so was her 70 year old sister, Mary with whom she resided.

Mary did not work at Kailey and Co. and therefore the sisters did not connect their illnesses until their niece, their only heir, took them both to the doctor to figure out what was wrong. Both Mary and Alice were diagnosed with mesothelioma. It was assumed that Alice had been tracking the fibers home on her shoes and bag for 40 years.

Liability...

Kailey and Co. clearly knew that they were exposing their workers to asbestos. They also knew that it was possible to track the asbestos fibers to the homes of their employees through the dust that was found at the job site.

Lastly, they failed to warn their employees as required by state and federal law. Therefore, Kailey and Co. was clearly liable for their conduct.

Injuries...

Alice was directly exposed and was in stage four cancer by the time her niece took her to the doctor. It had metastasized to her lymph nodes and it was determined that she should not receive any treatment due to the advanced stage of the disease. At that point, the doctor urged the family to consider the quality of her life versus the pain of treatment.

Her sister Mary, however was in stage one because the exposure was not as significant as Alice's. She began treatment with surgery, followed by radiation and then chemotherapy (which is considered the only treatment for mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival).

Alice passed away within 6 months and Mary pursued a claim on behalf of Alice's estate.

Negotiations...

Alice's attorney attempted to negotiate a settlement on behalf of her estate for $600,000 since Kailey and Co. knew of the asbestos and failed to inform anyone. The insurance company argued that by the time they knew, Alice was already well into stage four cancer.

Final Settlement...

Alice's attorney settled the case for $250,000. Though this hardly seemed to compensate a person for their "life," Mary was pleased with the result because she donated 1/2 the settlement to a center for the early diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma cancer.

She also sued the company on her own behalf for the cancer she endured as a result of secondary exposure through Alice. She settled that mesothelioma and asbestos personal injury case for $185,000 and used that money for her post-operative care.

Important Points...

  • Mesothelioma can give rise to secondary exposure when the worker exposed to asbestos unknowingly brings the fibers home on their shoes and clothes.

  • Most treatments for mesothelioma have proven to be disappointing because the disease is typically so advanced by the time it is detected. Chemotherapy, however has been the only treatment shown to actually improve survival rates.

  • Often, due to the advanced stages of the disease, doctors will suggest palliative care versus extensive treatment that will likely not prolong life.

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