February 27, 2012 – Michael Moreno and his younger brother, James, volunteered to join the US Navy in 1965 and served together on the USS Renville and USS Valley Forge through 1967. While aboard these vessels, Michael Moreno worked throughout the ships, but particularly in the engine rooms, evaporator rooms, and other areas below decks. Sadly, Michael was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2009 and died exactly eighteen months after the date of his diagnosis.
NEW YORK, New York, February 27, 2012 – Almost forty-seven years after they joined together to serve our country, Michael and James Moreno were faced with saying farewell to each other forever. Michael Moreno and his younger brother, James, volunteered to join the US Navy in 1965 and served together on the USS Renville and USS Valley Forge through 1967. While aboard these vessels, Michael Moreno worked throughout the ships, but particularly in the engine rooms, evaporator rooms, and other areas below decks. Mr. Moreno traveled to various places overseas on both of the ships and was also involved in the decommissioning of the USS Renville. Sadly, Michael was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2009 and died exactly eighteen months after the date of his diagnosis.
Michael Moreno and his family filed a mesothelioma lawsuit to recover money damages from the manufacturers of various asbestos-containing products that were present on the ships that he served on. Now, nearly two years later, the manufacturer of an oil purifier, used onboard the USS Renville, agrees to settle the case just prior to trial.
Since the onset of WWII, this particular manufacturer had been a key supplier of oil separators to the marine industry, in particular, the United States Navy. Generally, oil is stored in huge quantities on a ship and used for running the engines or for lubricating purposes. It is used extensively in the engine room and needs to be cleaned using purifiers before or during operations. There are heavy oil purifiers, diesel oil purifiers, and lubricating oil purifiers. The purpose of the oil purifiers was to remove impurities from the fuel and lube oil by means of a centrifuge, which contained asbestos components. The product at issue, in this case, was an oil purifier and the asbestos components that were used in it included brake pads, gaskets, and packing material.
As testified to in his depositions, Mr. Moreno’s responsibilities included cleaning and servicing the purifiers. Ship repair specifications, provided by the National Archives regarding this purifier, required servicemen, like Mr. Moreno, to disassemble the purifier, clean and check all parts, and correct any misalignment found. This included the responsibility to renew the missing hand brake assembly, renew the pulley and bearings, belts, studs, nuts, washers, and other parts. It also included overhauling the rotary gear pump and renewing all the gaskets, balancing or renewing the bowl, and re-aligning the machine. Once that was completed, the servicemen had to check and correct any cause of vibration and were required to re-install and conduct operational tests for satisfactory operating conditions.
Historically, this manufacturer has maintained that in the routine maintenance of its purifier, one could not be exposed to asbestos. However, the plaintiff’s attorney at Levy Konigsberg LLP discovered documentary and testimonial evidence that contradicted those contentions, resulting in a recovery for Mr. Moreno’s family. Moreno extensively described his exposure to this equipment while at sea as well as during the work he performed in the process of decommissioning the USS Renville. Moreno painfully recalled the dust in the air from breaking and tearing down various asbestos-containing pieces of equipment, including purifiers, particularly during the decommissioning process. Furthermore, the plaintiff produced documents evidencing the presence of this purifier onboard the USS Renville, and brought to light expert and corporate representative testimonies confirming that this type of equipment would routinely be maintained by servicemen in Mr. Moreno’s position. The plaintiff maintained that during the period of time when he served on the USS Renville, the connecting pipes that were attached to the purifier would have employed the use of asbestos-containing flange gaskets. There were approximately nine flange gaskets that were part of each purifier, and when the purifier needed to be taken apart, these nine flange gaskets would have to be removed from the piping system and replaced with new gasket material. In addition to the asbestos-containing flange gaskets, heaters serving the fuel service lines were insulated with asbestos, two brake pads contained in the purifiers also included asbestos, and asbestos-containing packing material was used on the motor-driven pumps associated with the purifiers, thereby all corroborating the potential for Mr. Moreno’s exposure to asbestos from this product.
Ultimately resolving the lawsuit against the manufacturer of this purifier in Mr. Moreno’s favor paves the way for other servicemen with similar exposure to recover in these extremely complex cases. Mesothelioma Lawyers from Levy Konigsberg LLP are actively prosecuting lawsuits in New York and New Jersey on behalf of mesothelioma victims, including those exposed to asbestos while serving in the US Navy. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, fatal cancer that occurs primarily in the lining of the lungs and the abdomen.
For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Konigsberg LLP have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.
For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Konigsberg LLP at (800) 315-3806 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.