(Mesothelioma News) – Decades after a sailor’s exposure to asbestos and a year after he died from mesothelioma, a jury in Newport News, Va., held a shipyard supplier accountable, hitting the company with a $2.99 million verdict on April 13.
The company’s asbestos-laden parts, the jury said, helped cause the plaintiff’s disease and, ultimately, his death.
Robert Hardick, who was 69 when he died in March 2009, was a former U.S. Navy petty officer who had been exposed to asbestos while serving at a naval shipyard and while at sea, from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Mesothelioma, a cancer of the protective lining that covers many of the body’s organs, can take decades to develop. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by asbestos exposure. It is almost always fatal.
“His doctor talked vividly about his suffering,” said Bobby Hatten, a mesothelioma attorney with the Newport News firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamondstein. “He was a very loved guy.”
Asbestos-a heat-resistant material used heavily on ships -is dangerous when airborne. Hardick, a father of four from Hopkinsville, Ky., had breathed in millions of invisible asbestos fibers at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. As a shipfitter, Hardick often took pumps and valves into a shop area, using brushes and hammers to remove asbestos sealants. In the process, asbestos particles became airborne and Hardick breathed them in. Further asbestos exposure came when Hardick served aboard the cruiser USS Newport News.
The mesothelioma lawsuit was against the defendant, Illinois-based John Crane Inc., which had supplied the asbestos-laden parts to the Navy.
Crane’s liability represents half of a $5.98 million verdict returned by the jury. The remainder was apportioned to a codefendant in the case, Garlock Sealing Technologies of Palmyra, N.Y. But Garlock had previously settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, leaving only Crane on the hook for its half.
Hardick, who became a successful businessman after leaving the Navy, is survived by his wife, Diane. In arriving at the nearly $6 million verdict, the jury awarded $2 million for Hardick’s pain and suffering; $1.15 million for the loss suffered by his widow; $2.5 million for lost future income; and $327,000 in medical and funeral expenses.
This news was brought to you by the mesothelioma attorneys at Cooney & Conway, a nationally recognized law firm that has brought recovery and justice to victims of asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases.
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