People injured in maritime accidents, including injury due to asbestos exposure, must strategize with their lawyers about the proper path for presenting their cases. The injured party must present and demonstrate how a specific company negligently placed asbestos in its material that the release of the asbestos was a substantial factor in the injury. An insufficient strategy can lead to the case being tossed out.
Mike graduated from high school in the 1960s and then went to work for a neighbor as an apprentice. The neighbor was a plumber who also sold pipes. Mike, as an apprentice, learned how to detect different types of leaks and how to sketch plans of a piping system. After being an apprentice for a year, Mike, then age 19, became a full-time employee. Mike worked that job for three additional years.
In the late 1960s, with the Vietnam war raging, Mike joined the Navy. After spending several months in basic training, Mike entered the service aboard a large aircraft carrier that was situated primarily in the Gulf of Tonkin. The aircraft carrier’s mandate was to destroy the enemy that was lurking on the beaches of Vietnam and to destroy the supply line from Vietnam to Laos.
Utilizing Mike’s past experience as a plumber, particularly his skills with pipes, the Navy made Mike a pipefitter aboard the aircraft carrier. His duty was to inspect pipes for leaks and to repair leaks.
If a leak was found, Mike would find the source of the leak and then change the pipe. Often, this meant cutting the pipe out of the wall and replacing the repaired wall.
Unfortunately for Mike, cutting the walls or similar surfaces meant the release of asbestos particles into the air. Due to the nature of his job, Mike was exposed to asbestos on a regular basis.
After five years with the Navy, the Navy bestowed on Mike an honorable discharge. Thereafter, Mike worked as a plumber and then retired at age 65. He had a good retirement plan and looked forward to an enjoyable stretch of time without work.
Due to his exposure to asbestos, Mike developed mesothelioma. This led to many serious treatments, causing Mike severe pain.
Mike went to his lawyer and wanted to sue. He gathered information from his Navy days. With the help of his lawyer, Mike was able to piece together the names of the companies that manufactured the wall materials containing asbestos.
In his complaint, Mike alleged that he suffered from mesothelioma due to the negligence of several manufacturers of building materials that were used aboard Navy ships during the Vietnam War era. His complaint, however, did not allege exactly how each specific company was negligent. The complaint must be specific and well-pleaded; if not, the case will be thrown out.
On a motion to dismiss, the District Court hearing the maritime case ruled in favor of the building materials company. Mike failed to allege how each manufacturer was a substantial factor in his case against each manufacturer. Mike’s complaint did not allege this properly.
Injured in a maritime accident? Contact the maritime personal injury firm. Contact the Kolodny law firm.
(image courtesy of Thomas Fields)Injury Strategy