Last month, a Virginia jury awarded $25 million to a 72-year-old former shipyard worker suffering from mesothelioma. It marks one of the largest jury verdicts in the states’ history. The Exxon Mobil Corporation is liable for the award, which includes $12 million in compensatory damages, $12.5 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in medical expenses. According to a Virginia mesothelioma lawyer, Virginia law caps punitive damages at $5 million, so the $25 million reduces to $17.5 million.
The plaintiff worked on commercial vessels at Newport News Shipbuilding between 1966 and 1977. Prior to that, he worked as a ship fitter and in his time at the shipyard, he worked on 17 Exxon oil tankers. Doctors determined that the billions of asbestos fibers that the plaintiff inhaled aboard the ships caused his mesothelioma. Asbestos was common in insulation, gaskets, seals and pumps aboard commercial vessels.
Doctors were not able to diagnose the plaintiff’s mesothelioma until decades after the asbestos exposure, but that is typical. It can sometimes take up to 50 years for a diagnosis, which is why many retired shipyard workers are suffering now from the aggressive form of cancer. Few patients ever survive more than five years after a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Consult a doctor if you are concerned about asbestos exposure. A Northern Virginia mesothelioma attorney at Koonz, Mckenney, Johnson, DePaolis can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact mesothelioma attorney Peter DePaolis for a free and informative consultation about your case.