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Mesothelioma News

Navy Vet’s Exposure to Asbestos at Heart of Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When Obedia Walker, Jr. enlisted in the United States Navy, the electrician had no idea that the decision would put him at risk for mesothelioma and lung cancer, the disease that eventually claimed his life. But that is exactly what happened, and after his death in March of 2014, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the manufacturers responsible for placing extensive amounts of asbestos in the boiler room, distillation plant, and other areas on board the U.S. Plymouth Rock, where he was stationed. Though one of those manufacturers, Viad Corporation, attempted to escape responsibility by filing a motion for summary judgment, Judge Joel H. Slomsky of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled against them, allowing the case to proceed and Walker’s case to continue seeking compensation for the damages he suffered.

Though Mr. Walker was originally diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, when he died four months later a coroner determined that he actually died of invasive non-small cell carcinoma, another type of asbestos-related lung cancer. His family’s pursuit of justice led to both an investigation by noted industrial hygienist Kenneth S. Garza, who has spent the  last 13 years inspecting asbestos-contaminated products, as well as to testimony from Mr. Walker’s shipboard supervisor, who indicated that asbestos was a constant in the confined spaces where the electrician worked. James Owen testified that as an electrician, Mr. Walker worked in the engine room, where all surfaces that reached or exceed 125 degrees Fahrenheit needed to be covered with asbestos insulation, and that the insulation needed to be stripped off every time Mr. Walker needed to do a repair.  He also testified that there were no warning labels or any kind of protection provided for those who were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers. Though Viad Corporation tried to blame Mr. Walker’s death on his lifelong smoking habit, Mr. Walker’s family also presented testimony indicating that his asbestos exposure would have been a substantial contributing causal factor in the development of his lung cancer.

Having the right testimony to support your case is an essential element of a successful mesothelioma lawsuit. If you are considering pursuing justice following an asbestos-related diagnosis, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.