Family of New York Navy veteran awarded $1.42 million verdict in mesothelioma lawsuit against John Crane

by Eric Pearson

A jury in New York has awarded a $1.42 million verdict to the family of a U.S. Navy veteran who died from mesothelioma cancer in 2013. William Voelker served in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1971, during which time he was exposed to asbestos from materials that were found in the engine area onboard his ship that were manufactured by John Crane Inc.

Voelker was diagnosed with mesothelioma on Christmas Day in 2013 and died just four months later from the disease. Although mesothelioma is almost always deadly, the progression of Voelker’s cancer was especially aggressive.

Although Voelker lived in Nebraska at the time he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, his family filed their lawsuit in Buffalo because it was the city where their father grew up. During the Navy veteran’s childhood, Voelker was exposed to asbestos fibers carried home from work on the clothing of his father, who was a brick mason at Republic Steel in Buffalo. The Voelker family was able to resolve lawsuits against the manufacturers of the asbestos products used at Republic Steel prior to trial, but it was unable to resolve its case against John Crane.

During the trial, John Crane attempted to argue that the asbestos products found in the engine area onboard Voelker’s ship were “encapsulated”, and thus posed no risk to the health of crewmembers onboard the vessel. However, as the attorney representing the Voelker family argued, sailors onboard the ship would have experienced “countless” exposures to fibers from the asbestos materials onboard the ship. As a result, anyone who was working in the engine area of the ship would have suffered asbestos exposure, putting them at risk of mesothelioma or other diseases linked to asbestos.

The Voelker family’s attorneys argued that John Crane had hidden information about the link between mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since at least the 1940s. The $1.42 million verdict against the company included more than $400,000 in damages to cover their father’s medical costs, including costs for surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy treatments.

Victims of Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos Diseases Have Legal Rights

U.S. Navy veterans who served onboard ships containing asbestos products or who worked at naval shipyards where asbestos was handled may be at risk of illness as a result of their exposure to this dangerous product. In addition to the risk of mesothelioma faced by some veterans, former naval servicemen and women may also be at risk of being diagnosed with other asbestos-related diseases, including lung cancer and asbestosis.

Even with efforts to limit asbestos exposure after the 1970s, many workers were exposed to asbestos products at asbestos jobsites across the country—some of which may still contain asbestos fibers that could put the health of workers at risk.

Individuals who were exposed to asbestos products in the home may also be at risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. Some individuals have been exposed as a result of asbestos fibers carried home on the clothing of a loved one who worked at plants, factories, or other industrial jobs. Recent cases have also revealed that some talcum products may also contain significant amounts of asbestos fibers, putting consumers who used these products at risk of asbestos illnesses.

Although the use of asbestos products grew less common in recent decades, because of the long latency period between asbestos exposure and a mesothelioma diagnosis, many veterans and workers who were exposed to asbestos decades earlier are only down being diagnosed and treated for this fatal disease.

Individuals who were exposed to asbestos on the job, during military service, or in their home may face enormous medical bills due to the high costs associated with treatments for mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or asbestos-related diseases, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or distributor of the asbestos products that caused your illness. The first step in filing a lawsuit is to get help from a law firm with the experience in product liability litigation to handle your case and seek the compensation you and your family deserve.

The lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have handled hundreds of personal injury lawsuits on behalf of clients who were injured in the workplace or because of other mishaps. Our law firm has the financial resources to handle product liability cases from start to finish. In many instances, our firm has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to take our client’s case to trial and achieve the best possible result for their case.

For a free legal consultation about your case and to find out if you may be eligible to file a mesothelioma or asbestos lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free legal consultation form and answering a few simple questions about your case.