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Navy Asbestos Verdict: $32M to Navy Veteran

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 24, 2011 9:46 AM

Kentucky resident Ronald Dummitt, a former Navy veteran, was awarded a $32 million asbestos verdict after an eight-week trial in New York.

Dummitt, now 68, served for 28 years in the Navy. He was exposed to asbestos from working on Navy ships. He served on seven different ships between 1960 and 1977, reports WSAZ-TV.

Dummitt worked in the boiler and fire rooms on board the ships. His work also included repairing valves manufactured by Crane Co. These repairs involved removing and replacing asbestos-laden parts, according to WSAZ-TV.

He also worked on feed tanks manufactured by Elliott Turbomachinery Co., Inc., which also exposed him to levels of asbestos.

Later, Dummitt developed pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that can result from asbestos exposure. It primarily affects the lung's lining.

The $32 million dollar jury award was broken down into $16 million for past pain and suffering and an additional $16 million for future pain and suffering. The jury found Crane Co. 99% responsible and Elliot Turbomachinery 1% responsible for the verdict.

Essentially, the jury found that the companies had failed to warn Dummitt about the dangers of working with asbestos.

Asbestos is now tightly controlled in the United States. New uses of asbestos have been banned in the U.S. since 1989. Old uses of asbestos before 1989 are allowed but regulated.

Symptoms of asbestos-related illnesses often do not arise until 10-40 years after exposure. As a result, asbestos lawsuits are continually filed even now.

Currently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has imposed standards that mandate education for workers about asbestos dangers and risks. Different industries are often required to train employees about asbestos exposure.

These types of training and education are meant to help minimize asbestos-related illnesses like Ronald Dummitt's. But, despite the multi-million dollar asbestos verdict, Dummitt's legal saga is likely far from over. Crane Co.'s attorneys are planning to appeal, reports the ABA Journal.

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