Auto mechanics are among those with a high rate of being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. This is because so many auto parts are made to withstand high heat and friction, and were made using asbestos. Mr. Schweinberg was an auto mechanic in Ohio back in the late 1980s, and had no idea that he was at risk for the rare and fatal form of cancer: he was also unaware that when he invited his girlfriend to visit him at the small garage where he worked he was putting her at risk too. Thirty years later when she was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, she filed a lawsuit against Honeywell International, Inc., the manufacturer of the asbestos-contaminated Bendix brakes that he installed. Though Honeywell argued that there was insufficient evidence that their brakes had caused the girlfriend’s illness, their motion for summary judgment was denied by the judge in the case, who ruled that the testimony she had provided was more than enough to satisfy the legal requirements to proceed.
Julia C. Alexander was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in May of 2016 and quickly realized that her exposure to asbestos had come from when she would visit Mr. Schweinberg two to three times a week for four hours each visit from 1987 through 1991. She would sit just five feet away from him while he performed brake work in a garage that could fit just one van at a time, and which had no ventilation system and no vacuum system on its brake grinder. She testified that her boyfriend would use a hammer to loosen dust and dirt in the brakes and use compressed air to clean them off. These two actions would send the asbestos into the air, where she breathed it for hours at a time. Though Honeywell argued that because she could not say what type of cars were worked on, or how many brake jobs she had been present for, she did testify that Mr. Schweinberg only used Bendix brakes.
District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent ruled in Ms. Alexander’s favor, saying that “her testimony identifies Honeywell’s product, and provides sufficient evidence for a jury to determine the manner, proximity, frequency, length of exposure, and enhancing factors relevant to a determination as to whether Bendix brakes were a substantial factor in her contraction of mesothelioma.” Her case will be able to proceed so that she can seek compensation for the damages she suffered.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of a company negligently including asbestos in their products, you need legal help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244 to learn more.