Shipboard Asbestos Blamed for Veteran’s Mesothelioma

Navy veteran Chloyde Pelton has filed a lawsuit against manufacturer John Crane, Inc., accusing the company of negligence, willful and wanton conduct, and strict product liability for its failure to warn against the dangers of asbestos in products he worked with during his time in the military. Though the company filed a motion to have the claims against it dismissed, an Ohio court denied their petition and is allowing the case to move forward.

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“Dirty Work” Described by Veteran with Mesothelioma

According to the mesothelioma lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Mr. Pelton served aboard the U.S.S. Lyman K. Swenson, the U.S.S. Pritchett, and the U.S.S. Frontier in the years between 1959 and 1963. His shipboard duties included removing old gaskets and packing using a wire brush, work that he described as dirty and which he said created “lots of dust in the air.” His claim of causation was supported by testimony from several expert witnesses, including a retired U.S. Navy Captain who spoke to the amount of dust that would have been raised in his work, a medical expert, and an industrial hygienist.

Despite the strength of the testimonial evidence provided by the plaintiff, John Crane, Inc. argued that the case against it should be dismissed. The company said that the witness testimony was insufficient to establish that the harms posed by their asbestos-contaminate products were outweighed by their benefits. The company argued that there was no proof of causation and that the victim had offered no alternative that would have represented a safer design than what was used. They also asserted that there is no recognition of willful and wanton conduct under maritime law and that therefore the punitive damages claim should be stricken.

Judges Deny Motion to Dismiss Navy Veteran’s Mesothelioma Lawsuit

John Crane, Inc.’s products are frequently named in mesothelioma lawsuits, and the company consistently attempts to evade liability, but its efforts were rejected by the judges hearing Mr. Pelton’s case. Though they agreed that maritime law does not recognize willful and wanton conduct, they left the punitive damages claim in place and denied the company’s assertions regarding the evidence. They also noted that the plaintiff had no obligation to offer an alternative design or weigh the pros and cons of function versus potential harm. The petition for dismissal was denied and the case will continue for a jury to hear.

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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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