Mesothelioma Victim Awarded $5.75 Million in Case Against Volkswagen

A King County, Washington jury has awarded $5.75 million in damages to the estate of a mesothelioma victim who filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America and Volkswagen AG. The victim, Thomas Sorrentino, died shortly after his diagnosis with the aggressive form of cancer, but in the time he had left, he provided essential deposition testimony that supported his claim of negligence.

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Work as VW Auto Mechanic Led to Mesothelioma Diagnosis

According to his deposition testimony, Mr. Sorrentino spent the years between 1972 and 1975 working as an auto mechanic at a Spokane Washington Volkswagen dealership. His duties included replacing brakes and clutches on the German company’s vehicles, and in the course of his workday, he frequently used a grinding machine to make the brakes fit the drums on the cars he was assigned to work on. Those brakes were contaminated with asbestos, and the grinding action created carcinogenic dust that he inhaled on a regular basis.

Recalling his work at United Volkswagen, the mesothelioma victim said that there was so much dust created that he’d needed to use an air compressor to blow it off of the surfaces that he was working with. This further spread the deadly asbestos fibers through his work environment’s air. Expert witnesses testifying at trial confirmed that the fibers he inhaled in the workplace would have contributed to his risk and led to him developing the rare and deadly asbestos-related disease.

Replacement Brakes Had No Warning of Asbestos’ Risks

Though Volkswagen’s attorneys attempted to defend the company against charges of negligence, the jury in the mesothelioma trial quickly learned that they’d been aware of the dangers posed by asbestos but had chosen not to place any warnings on their brakes’ packaging. The jury also learned that the company had equipped their German employees with protective gear to prevent them from inhaling asbestos or carrying the fibers home, yet had offered no such protection for those working in America or other countries where the parts were shipped.

Responding to the facts, the jury quickly agreed that the company had been negligent and awarded the estate $5 million. Mr. Sorrentino’s surviving son was also a plaintiff in the case, and the jury ordered the auto manufacturer to compensate him with $750,000.

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger

Writer

Paul Danziger grew up in Houston, Texas and earned a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. For over 25 years years he has focused on representing mesothelioma cancer victims and others hurt by asbestos exposure. Paul and his law firm have represented thousands of people diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer, recovering significant compensation for injured clients. Every client is extremely important to Paul and he will take every call from clients who want to speak with him. Paul and his law firm handle mesothelioma cases throughout the United States.

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