Being seated on a jury requires paying attention to evidence, and sitting on a jury in a mesothelioma case means learning a great deal about the disease from expert witnesses. Many witnesses will speak to the role of asbestos in the disease’s development, the amount of asbestos contamination present in a product or environment, or how mesothelioma tumors develop and progress. In a recent case in Indiana, a victim seeking compensation for her fear of getting mesothelioma submitted her psychiatrist as expert witness to testify about the damage her fear of mesothelioma had done. Though the asbestos company moved to prevent the psychiatrist from testifying, the judge in the case determined that his testimony is permissible.
Victim’s Fear of Mesothelioma Called “Extreme”
The case involved a woman who was exposed to asbestos and chlorinated chemicals produced by Johnson Controls, and whose subsequent fear of mesothelioma for herself and her family led to her developing severe psychological damage. Her attorneys enlisted psychiatrist Dr. Zachary Torry to testify about her condition, but the asbestos company moved to block him from providing his opinion.
In their argument against Dr. Torry testifying in the mesothelioma lawsuit, attorneys for Johnson Controls asserted that the psychiatrist was wrong to assume that the plaintiff had actually been exposed to asbestos, and that he was speaking about conditions that he had no firsthand knowledge of. They also argued that the methodology he used in reaching his conclusions did not support causation.
Judge Rules Psychiatrist Meets Expert Witness Criteria
In speaking to the damage the victim suffered upon learning she’d been exposed to asbestos, Dr. Torry said she had suffered “extreme emotional distress.” He wrote, “[S]he has developed a pervasive ‘fear and panic’ that is centered on the potential for her and her family developing a fatal disease. [S]he carries an excessive amount of guilt and blames herself, as she believes that she ‘put their lives at risk. Moreover, the uncertainty of when, and how the risks will manifest in her or her children elevates her level of fear and worry to such an extent that she is overwhelmed by her helplessness and powerlessness to affect or control the situation.”
In considering all of the evidence and reviewing the psychiatrist’s qualifications and conclusions, the court determined that he had met all eligibility requirements of an expert witness and that he will be able to testify in support of his patient.
Page Reviewed and Edited by Mesothelioma Attorney 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.