Some would say that the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearny, New Jersey was the country’s most effective shipbuilder during World War II. This assertion is made with good reason. During World War II, employees of Kearny’s Federal Shipbuilding churned out naval ships faster than any other shipbuilding company. In fact, on one particular day, four new warships were launched in less than an hour. Located on the Hackensack River, Federal Shipbuilding once employed thousands of skilled tradespeople from New Jersey and New York. After World War II ended, the Navy purchased the shipyard, and carried out heavy salvaging activities through to the late-1970s.

Employees of Federal Shipbuilding produced some of America’s greatest ships, including destroyers, landing craft, and destroyer escorts. Working around-the-clock, crews of thousands of employees spread across 17 acres were involved in every aspect of ship production. Skilled tradespeople, including pipefitters, plumbers, lathers, sheet metal workers, carpenters and laborers fabricated, assembled and installed the metals and products that would form a finished ship. For some, this work involved assembling and installing machinery in the engine and boiler rooms. Working in cramped and poorly ventilated spaces, crews of Federal Shipbuilding employees and independent contractors installed and insulated propulsion and heating equipment throughout the ships.

In the years following World War II, with Federal Shipyard’s land sold to the United States Navy, operations at the Federal Shipbuilding worksite transitioned to ship salvaging. Here, large crews of employees engaged in a process of determining whether to salvage or scrap retired naval vessels. Salvaging operations at the Federal Shipyard had two goals. First, employees would have to determine if a ship should be deemed seaworthy, and money invested in overhauls. Second, if a ship was not deemed worthy of substantial investment, crews would salvage whatever working machinery was available, for use elsewhere by the government. Scrapping operations, on the other hand, removed all usable equipment, and broke down the ship as much as possible.

Employees who were involved in shipbuilding activities at Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock, as well as individuals involved in salvage/scrapping operations, were exposed to vast amounts of asbestos. Between the 1940s and 1980s, many of the products installed in the engine and boiler rooms of naval vessels contained numerous pieces of equipment. Much of this equipment was also heavily insulated with asbestos insulation to protect sailors from burns. Employees involved in these ship activities worked with and around numerous pieces of equipment, including boilers, turbines, pumps, valves, air compressors and oil coolers.

Whether installing the machinery at the time of building or removing the machinery during a salvage operation, working with and around asbestos material was inevitable. Available documentation of a major pump manufacturer reveals that gaskets were installed at the shipyard upon product delivery, to protect the gasket from breaking during transit. Asbestos lagging, asbestos gaskets, asbestos rope and asbestos insulation were added after the machinery had been installed. Similarly, during salvage and scrapping operations, employees disassembling the engine and boiler rooms had to cut apart heavy asbestos insulation to inspect the seaworthiness of the various pieces of equipment. During these operations, workers were exposed to asbestos fiber from gaskets, packing, and insulation.

Between the 1940s and 1980s, activities at Kearny’s Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock worksite exposed thousands of skilled tradespeople to asbestos. For decades, the attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have represented numerous families of individuals who were involved in shipbuilding and shipyard work. If you or a loved one worked at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock yard or another shipyard and have developed an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer, please call today for a free consultation.


Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.


Committed to Doing What’s Right

Over $3 Billion Won

We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

There's No Case Too Big

Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.

Trial Attorneys

Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.

A Thought Leader in the Industry

Our firm’s knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.

Access to World Class Resources

Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.

Changing the World for Good

We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.


Hear What They Have to Say

Professional, responsive and very good at their jobs.

“From the first visit to my home, to my last visit to the office to collect my settlement, I was very happy with the services provided by this firm. They are professional, very responsive and very good …”

– Lisa Ross

They have truly gone above and beyond.

“I have been beyond pleased how Levy Konigsberg is handling my matter. They answer my questions in a timely matter and when warranted, ease my worries and concerns. They have truly gone above and …”

– Anne Fahey

I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern!

“Selecting a Law firm to represent me was one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make in my life. I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern, and he exceeded all my expectations.”

– Dennis McGowan

With this team on my side we came out on top.

“Levy Konigsberg and team are a group of men and women that give their all, down to the receptionist. I had a case that was almost unbeatable but with this team on my side we came out on top. They keep …”

– Angie Garrido

Very happy with our settlement.

“My husband and I were VERY happy with our experience with this firm. They were always caring and really helped us go through this in a very hard time in our lives .We continue to be in touch with the …”

– Lori Rosa

Wow is all I can say.

“It has been a few years now but I needed to post this. My dad suffered so much from Mesothelioma. My brother looked into the law and our rights. Unfortunately he died also before anything was done. It …”

– Carol N.

Their dedication to receive the highest results for their clients was amazing.

“Working with Levy Koningsberg LLP was a very positive experience. Their professionalism and curiosity was outstanding. I was a pleasure working with this firm. Their dedication to receive the highest …”

– Emily DeRogatis.

Such a great team!

“The whole team at Levy, Konigsberg LLP have been extremely professional and kind during our most difficult time. They keep you informed during the process, check in often asking if there are any …”

– Kevin Kober

We definitely got the right law firm!

“Levy Konigsberg represented my daughter Linda, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at 16 years old. She endured many surgeries and chemotherapy including HIPEC. She traveled the country seeking …”

– Mark Wells

Levy Konigsberg continued to help my family fight for the justice my father deserves.

“Levy Konigsberg was there for my father as soon as he was diagnosed with mesothelioma they helped him get medical treatment in another state that specializes in his condition and even provided housing …”

– Stephanie Vitale



Free Case Review