On Monday, as the Edwardsville, Illinois asbestos lawsuit against Crane Co. continued into its second week, jurors listened to a testimony that was recorded by video before United States Navy Veteran Tom King Sr. passed away due to malignant mesothelioma.
According to court reports, King Sr. filed his asbestos lawsuit against the Crane Co. last year, but passed away in May 2013, before his trial started. However, expecting his death, King Sr.’s attorneys recorded his statement in advance. His sons, Brian King and Tom King Jr. continued the lawsuit on behalf of their father, and even though King Sr. wasn’t present, his recorded video testimony resonated throughout the Madison County courtroom.
“If you’re at sea, practically everything is running and it doesn’t work right. If it breaks, we fix it,” King Sr. said, remembering his job as an engineer and repairman in the U.S. Navy. King Sr.’s main duties were working in the engine room on each ship he was assigned to, but he also lent a hand in other areas of the ship when he was needed, repairing and cleaning different equipment and insulation.
As he continued with his testimony, King Sr. stated that he was never given any warning regarding the dangers of asbestos exposure and was never told to wear any kind of protective gear to keep him safe from inhaling asbestos fibers. He also said that when anything went wrong, he, along with his crew members, were told to refer to a manual. However, he was not sure if the manuals were from the U.S. Navy or from a manufacturer.
“The manufacturer’s name was there on the manual, that’s all I know. We had a chain of command. Remember the Navy way? That’s what we were required to do,” King Sr. said.
He then went to describe exactly what his job duties entailed, including replacing old gaskets in pumps that were filled with extremely hot water.
“These systems are hot and when we worked with hot valves, they were isolated. We cleared out all the water because we couldn’t work with that,” he stated.
Once he began the process of replacing the gaskets, King Sr. had to first scrub the asbestos residue off the valves first in order to prevent leaking. In addition, he repaired the insulation on several pieces of equipment that was loaded with asbestos.
Although he wasn’t sure of the manufacturers of all the products he worked on, he was certain that the Crane Co. provided the valves, stating that the company name was on the cases. He was also fairly certain that the insulation he worked on came from the Johns Manville Corporation.
At the conclusion of his testimony, he said that it’s been decades since he worked on the Navy ships, and since that time, the abundance of chemotherapy made it hard for him to remember every single detail.
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