The Virginia Supreme Court recently issued an important ruling in an asbestos cancer lawsuit allowing the plaintiffs to continue with their claim on behalf of their decreased mother who passed away due to exposure to toxic asbestos dust. The 4-3 decision affirms long standing tort law in the state, establishing a duty to defendants to exercise reasonable care to prevent foreseeable injuries to persons within the scope of harm.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in a Virginia circuit court but later moved to a federal District Court, the victim developed her deadly cancer after years of exposure from asbestos fibers brought home on her father’s clothes. The complaint alleged that the victim, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2013 and died three years later, regularly helped launder her father’s clothes, who worked as a at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock, a business now known as Huntington Ingalls Inc., routinely brought home asbestos dust on his clothing.
Asbestos is a naturally forming mineral once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military capabilities, particularly in the shipping industry, because of its heat resistant properties. The substance is directly linked to developing mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer commonly affecting the thin linings of tissue surrounding the vital organs like the heart, lungs, and abdomen.
It was only until the 1970s that Congress took action to protect the public, passing laws that effectively banned the use of asbestos. Despite knowing full well about the risks associated with asbestos exposure, companies produced their asbestos-laden products without any warning to consumers about the risks of developing serious health conditions.
After removing the case from Virginia circuit court to federal District court, the federal justices asked for guidance from the Virginia Supreme Court on aspects of Virginia civil laws, specifically on the question of whether the defendants owed any duty to the plaintiff. The defense argued that the victim had no relationship to the shipyard as a child of an employee there and could therefore not claim any duty to exercise caution against foreseeable harm.
Fortunately for the plaintiffs carrying on the suit on the victim’s behalf, the majority of the Virginia Supreme Court that state law held the harm to the deceased was in fact foreseeable and the defendants owed a duty of care. While the ruling did not find judgement for one party or another, it is significant that allows the case to proceed in federal District Court to trial where a judge and jury will decide the merits of the case.
Arizona Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.