$4.25 Million Award Among Largest in Pacific Northwest
Bergman Draper Oslund Udo announces two separate Seattle juries award damages to mesothelioma victims in a single week.
On September 14, 2019 a King County jury awarded Douglas and Diane Everson $4.25 million against Lone Star Industries in a case involving exposure to asbestos products. On September 4, 2019 a different jury awarded $425,000 to the Estate of Henry Eisler against Alcoa in a premises liability claim arising out of the Alcoa aluminum plant in Wenatchee, Washington.
Both Douglas Everson and Henry Eisler contracted mesothelioma as a result of their occupational exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a cancer of pleura which lines the thoracic and abdominal cavities. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma and most victims die within six to eighteen months of their diagnosis. Washington State has some of the highest rates of mesothelioma in the United States due to the extensive use of asbestos in the shipbuilding, aluminum and wood products industries that formerly dominated Washington’s economy.
Doug Everson was exposed to asbestos at Lockheed Shipyard on Harbor Island where he worked as a marine electrician in the early 1970s. Everson was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in early 2019 at the age of 80. He and his wife Diane hired the Seattle law firm of Bergman Draper Oslund Udo which specializes in representing asbestos victims in Washington and Oregon. Bergman sued Lone Star and several other companies who manufactured or supplied asbestos products to Lockheed Shipyard.
The Eversons settled their claims with all of the defendants except Lone Star. Vanessa Oslund and Glenn Draper prosecuted a three-week trial before King County Judge Kenneth Schubert. Rejecting Lone Star’s augments that its predecessor, Pioneer Sand & Gravel, never supplied asbestos products to Lockheed Shipyard, the jury found the company’s asbestos products were unreasonably dangerous and were a substantial contributing factor to Doug Everson’s mesothelioma. The jury awarded $1.5 million to Doug Everson and $2.75 million his wife Diane.
Doug Everson learned of the jury’s verdict while receiving advanced Hospice care in his home in South Seattle. However, after relating the jury’s verdict to Mr. Everson, Vanessa Oslund observed that “with the end of his life drawing near, Doug gained solace and strength knowing that the company that caused his terminal disease was held accountable for its misconduct and that justice was served for his family.”
Henry Eisler worked as an outside contractor at the Alcoa aluminum smelter in Wenatchee performing metalwork from the 1960s-1980s. He sustained secondary exposure to asbestos throughout this period and was never warned of the hazards or provided respiratory protection. Mr. Eisler was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2017 and died several months later. An autopsy found elevated levels of asbestos fibers in Mr. Eisler’s lungs.
After settling with the manufacturer and supplier defendants, Bergman went to trial against Alcoa on a premises liability theory. The three-week trial before King County Superior Court Judge Keenan resulted in a plaintiff’s verdict finding Alcoa liable for maintaining an unsafe premise that caused harm to Mr. Eisler. The jury awarded $425,000 to Mr. Eisler’s estate. This was the first time that a Washington jury has ever held a non-manufacturer defendant liable under a premise’s liability theory. Lead counsel Chandler Udo observed: “After manufacturers stopped making asbestos products in the 1970s, premises owners such as Alcoa continued to expose workers to toxic asbestos fibers in violation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.”
Matthew Bergman, founder and senior partner of Bergman Draper Oslund Udo has been representing asbestos victims for over 25 years and observes that this is the first time that Washington juries have rendered back-to-back plaintiffs’ verdicts in Washington asbestos litigation. He sees this result as the product of increased societal outrage over corporate misconduct. Bergman explained “as wealth and power becomes progressively concentrated in the hands of a few elite, jurors become increasingly outraged over corporate misconduct that causes harms to ordinary citizens. Jurors hold the unique and vital power to hold corporations accountable for these misdeeds and ensure laws apply equally to all citizens.”
About Bergman Draper Oslund Udo
Bergman Draper Oslund Udo 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.