Malignant mesothelioma is a cruel and relentless disease that makes itself known when it is too late for treatment to be effective. It afflicts those who have been exposed to asbestos, and due to high levels of use by the military, many of those affected are veterans of America’s Armed Forces. Though the law generally permits those sickened by toxic exposure to file lawsuits against those responsible, veterans are not permitted to file these types of suits against the military administration. They can, however, pursue claims against asbestos providers. These lawsuits are notable for the creative defenses mounted by the asbestos companies.
A notable example of what happens when a military veteran files suit against an Armed Forces supplier can be seen in the case filed by Navy veteran Harry L. Goodrich and his wife Agnes against multiple asbestos companies. The couple named several defendants, accusing them of negligence and responsibility for his fatal diagnosis. Instead of accepting blame or denying their role in his illness, one of the defendants argued that blame rested with the Navy. John Crane, Inc. tried to circumvent the legal protections afforded to Navy and to accuse the military of knowledge of asbestos’ dangers in order to absolve themselves of blame.
The main argument that John Crane, Inc. offered in the mesothelioma lawsuit that Harry Goodrich and his wife filed against them was that it was the military’s responsibility to protect service men and women, and that manufacturers of asbestos-contaminated products were simply fulfilling military requisitions.
In response to the company’s argument, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia, Newport News Division overruled the company’s motion. The court agreed that it had both the discretion and responsibility to make decisions involving the case, but also said that John Crane, Inc. was circumventing legal precedent and trying to use a “backdoor” way of evading responsibility for their own negligence.
Every day faced by a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma introduces a new challenge. If you or someone you love needs assistance in confronting the daily stress and strain, contact us today for help. We can be reached at 1-800-726-7245.