A jury in Virginia has awarded a $6 million verdict to the family of Robert Hardick, a United Stated Navy veteran, and mesothelioma victim.
The wife of the late Mr. Hardick filed a mesothelioma lawsuit in March 2009 against John Crane Inc. and Garlock Sealing Technologies. Robert Hardick died in March 2009 from malignant mesothelioma that he and his family believed had been the result of his service in the US Navy. Hardick had been a Petty Officer in the Navy and had served aboard various naval vessels during his career, but none for as long as his service aboard the U.S.S. Newport News.
The Newport News was a Des Moines-Class heavy cruiser, which like other ships in the naval fleet from 1940 to 1980 used asbestos in nearly every compartment and area of the ship. Many Navy veterans like Petty Officer Hardick have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma because of their service on board naval vessels during a time when safety regulations regarding asbestos materials and products were practically nonexistent.
Asbestos insulation and asbestos components were used in various capacities on board naval vessels during the 1940s through 1970s because of asbestos’ heat and flame resistant properties. When asbestos deteriorates over time the fibers can become friable, or airborne, leading to possible inhalation by humans and even lead to a potential diagnosis of mesothelioma.
Thankfully, since the late 1970s the federal government – with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency – began to crack down on the lax safety regulations on asbestos in the work place and naval ships. But for many generations of workers and veterans, the legal changes came too late. Mrs. Hardick’s mesothelioma lawyers were able to prove that the same asbestos fibers breathed in by her late husband was the same asbestos manufactured and sold to the Navy by Garlock Sealing Technologies and John Crane Inc.
This connection proved enough evidence to the jury to warrant the wrongful death verdict and the sizeable award being divided between the two offending companies. In mesothelioma lawsuits, the toughest part of the case is proving that one’s diagnosis of mesothelioma was caused by an occupation known for asbestos exposure, and then being able to personally identity the asbestos manufacturer that made the asbestos containing products and materials used by the victim.