Navy Veteran’s Mesothelioma Claim Will be Heard, Despite Asbestos Company’s Objections

While a federal judge acknowledged that it’s not clear whether Foster Wheeler Energy Corporation was at fault in a Navy veteran’s fatal malignant mesothelioma, he also said that it’s impossible to eliminate the possibility based on the facts in the case. As a result, he denied the company’s motion to have the case dismissed and let Jerome J. Gehant’s family’s claim against the company proceed for a jury to hear.

USS America

Three Years of Navy Service Exposed Sailor to Asbestos that Led to Mesothelioma

According to the lawsuit filed against Foster Wheeler by Gehant’s family, the Navy veteran served for just three-and-a-half years, from March 1967 through December 1970. But during his service he worked in shipyards and aboard the USS America. The claim asserts, “The asbestos and asbestos-containing products in and about the vessels upon which Jerome J. Gehant worked and in the shipyards are known to be highly toxic to mankind.”

Much of the equipment that the mesothelioma victim worked with was manufactured by Foster Wheeler, and though the company argued that they had not known about the dangers of the asbestos contaminating the gaskets in their equipment, the judge hearing the case noted  that “there is ample evidence that defendants knew or should have known … that exposure to asbestos dust could cause lung cancer … and there is evidence defendants knew or should have known that removing and replacing asbestos-containing gaskets could expose a user to asbestos dust.”

Asbestos Company Looks to Government Contractor Status to Shield it from Mesothelioma Claim

Faced with accusations that they knew or should have known that their equipment’s parts were contaminated with asbestos and could lead to sailors’ developing malignant mesothelioma, Foster Wheeler turned to their status as a government contractor, arguing that the government did not offer the option of whether to use asbestos in their products. In response the judge noted that “several courts have denied motions for summary judgement on the basis that there was a triable issue of fact related to whether the Navy prohibited manufacturers from placing warning on their product.” The judge denied the motion for summary judgment and allowed the case to move forward,

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Paul Danziger

Paul Danziger


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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