The family of a couple who passed from asbestos exposure won their asbestos lawsuit this in King County, Washington. The jury awarded Barbara Brandes, daughter of the late Raymond Brandes and Barbara Brandes, $3.5 million.
According to court documents, Raymond Brandes worked at Whatcom County’s ARCO Cherry Point refinery for numerous years. During his time there, he was exposed to asbestos on a daily basis. In January of last year, he died from asbestosis. Ramona’s mother, Barbara, developed malignant mesothelioma after second-hand asbestos exposure from Raymond’s clothing. She died last year as well.
Along with ARCO and seven other businesses, the asbestos lawsuit was filed against Brand Insulations, the company that distributed asbestos-containing insulation to ARCO. During the trial, Ramona’s attorney argued that all seven defendants were the cause of both of her parents passing away from asbestos-related illnesses.
Ramona remembered that ARCO only had 4 showers for over 200 workers, and it was almost impossible for her father to take a shower before returning home.
“ARCO, when they built the [Cherry Point] refinery, put in four showers for over 200 workers. You would have to wait hours to take a shower after a shift. My dad didn’t and they did not provide any laundry service.”
Had Raymond been able to take a shower and do laundry at work, there is a chance that his wife would have never developed mesothelioma. Ramona also remembers her mother dusting off her father’s work clothes before doing laundry.
“My mom would shake out the big bits of dust, the asbestos that is harmful you can’t see it, you can’t smell it, you can’t taste it. She would wash his clothes and sweep up the laundry room.”
Ramona’s attorneys argued that the defendants acted in willful negligence and “manufactured, sold or distributed asbestos-containing products or products that were used in conjunction with asbestos.”
The jury agreed. However, the following companies had alreadysettled with the Brandes family for an undisclosed amount:
- Hanson Permanente Cement
- Kaiser Gypsum
- Metalclad Insulation
- Metropolitan Life Insurance
- Union Carbide
Brand Insulations decided to fight the lawsuit, but ended up losing last week after the jury determined it was liable for negligence and product liability that caused the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Brandes. Barbara was awarded $3.5 million. The attorney for Brand, however, declared that the trial is still not over, and that the case will be reviewed by the King County Superior Court this summer.
Barbara Brandes attended the trial as much as possible before passing away last year. Ramona states that had no idea that mesothelioma would act so quickly and take her mother so soon.
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