SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A jury has awarded the family of a Poulsbo man $1.1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The jury’s verdict found Lone Star Industries, based in Stamford, Connecticut (formerly called Pioneer Sand and Gravel), culpable in the death of Andrew Miller, who died from mesothelioma in November 2016.
Medical experts testified that Miller, who worked as a machinist at Lockheed Shipyard and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard between 1967 and 1980, experienced high exposure to asbestos insulation products supplied by Pioneer Sand and Gravel. Jurors found that the exposure to these products was a substantial factor in causing his mesothelioma, a rare form of terminal cancer.
Attorneys Chandler Udo, Craig Sims and Kaitlin Wright from Seattle firm Bergman Draper Oslund argued that Lone Star was aware of the hazards of its asbestos-containing thermal insulation products yet failed to furnish warnings. And while the company denied that they supplied asbestos products to Lockheed Shipyard or Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Udo, Sims and Wright presented multiple eye-witness accounts of delivery and installation of these products.
Matthew Bergman, Principal at Bergman Draper Oslund, said: “This is the first time in the state of Washington that Lone Star Industries has been held responsible for supplying asbestos products to these local shipyards, after well over a decade of denying responsibility. We view this case as a significant breakthrough, and we are pleased to bring some closure to Mr. Miller’s family.”
Washington state has one the highest rates of mesothelioma in the country. Kitsap, King, Pierce and Benton-Franklin have appeared in the “top 10” counties in the U.S. with the highest percentage of cases. Washington courts have developed a distinctive body of jurisprudence applicable to proving exposure in asbestos cases, specifically as it relates to the type of circumstantial evidence sufficient to demonstrate that exposure to a defendant’s product was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm. In Lockwood v. AC&S, the state Supreme Court held that where there is evidence that an asbestos-containing product was used at plaintiff’s jobsite an inference arises that the plaintiff was exposed to that product.
This case was originally filed with the Superior Court of Washington King County in October 2016 and spent three weeks at trial. After careful deliberation, the jury awarded Diane E. Miller, a representative of Andrew Miller, with the $1.1 million award on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.
About Bergman Draper Oslund:
Bergman Draper Oslund is a Seattle-based firm of lawyers and dedicated staff with over 25 years’ experience, devoted solely to helping mesothelioma clients, with an emphasis on the Northwest. The firm has won more than $700 million for its clients, achieving record setting awards for victims exposed to asbestos at work or at home and through primary or secondary exposure.