A New Jersey Appellate Court has reversed an earlier judge’s decision in a case involving a former ship worker who died from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos at work.
The plaintiff in the case had worked on commercial dredges and other commercial ships in various positions between the years 1962 and 2003. During that time, he claimed that he worked with numerous asbestos-containing products and was exposed to asbestos fibers, dust, and particles. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June of 2008, and died from the disease almost exactly one year later.
A lawsuit was filed against the ship worker’s former employer based on a Jones Act claim of negligence for asbestos exposure and a general unseaworthiness claim. The Jones Act is a federal law intended to protect seamen injured or killed in the course of employment because of negligence on the part of the employer, owner, or fellow crewmember of a vessel. A Jones Act claim requires that the plaintiff establish that the employer was negligent and that the negligence, however slight, was the cause of injury. The standard of causation in a Jones Act claim is less than that of a common law negligence claim.
The plaintiff stated that he was regularly required to change asbestos-containing brake linings on winches and insulation on pipes and boilers. He estimated that he was exposed to asbestos hundreds of times during the course of his employment. He also named three men that he had worked side-by-side with who had died of mesothelioma. He says he never wore a mask, and was never offered one.
The case was ultimately dismissed when the judge granted summary judgment to the man’s former employer claiming that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence that he was exposed to asbestos during his time of employment for the defendant.
Earlier this month, a New Jersey Appellate Court disagreed, and the case was reinstated. This time, the court ruled that the plaintiff had shown sufficient evidence that the ships and dredges he worked on contained asbestos. The court also agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the processes it could have taken to protect him and other workers.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness, you may be entitled to compensation. For more than 30 years, the New Jersey Asbestos lawyers of Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler have been fighting on behalf of clients harmed by the negligent or willful misconduct of their employers. To arrange your no-cost consultation with one of our knowledgeable and dedicated New Jersey asbestos lawyers call 1-800-369-0899 today or submit an online contact form.