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Longshoremen wins jury verdict over asbestos exposure

Although asbestos is no longer in common use in the United States and other countries, abatement or removal is still continuing in many communities. Louisiana has a long history of manufacturing or assembling products with the crystaline fiber later assumed to be connected to lung cancer and other ailments of thoracic organs.

Shipyard workers and others in the maritime trades were at special risk for much of the 20th century. Asbestos tiles and insulators were favored as a flame retardant in ships and port facilities, leaving the Port of New Orleans and many of the Bayou State's ship contaminated with several chemicals and materials including asbestos.

A longshoreman with a long career working on the New Orleans Riverfront was recently vindicated after two years battling mesothelioma, a rare cancer affecting the linings of lungs and other organs. His legal fight for medical expenses led to settlements with several stevedoring companies, but he also secured a jury verdict of nearly $3 million from the defendants who fought his claims.

Economic damages, including past and future medical expenses related to a diagnosis, make up a little under half of the verdict. Noneconomic damages, including loss of enjoyment of life and the emotional trauma of the diagnosis and treatment, make up much of the remainder.

People battling the consequences of exposure to asbestos have the right to file claims for similar damages. An attorney can help review the medical facts, build the evidentiary case for a claim and settle out of courts with defendants or press a case to trial for a jury verdict.

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