Providence, RI, March 16, 2017 – Today, Levy Konigsberg announced an important legal victory for the family of a man, James Stevens, who developed mesothelioma as the result of his asbestos exposure that took place aboard the USS Allagash during the early 1950s. Mr. Stevens was a boiler technician and worked on the asbestos-containing boilers used to power the ship. Prior to passing away from mesothelioma, Mr. Stevens filed his mesothelioma lawsuit and gave sworn deposition testimony describing his exposure to asbestos from working on boilers, which Navy records confirm were manufactured by Foster-Wheeler. Mr. Stevens and his wife, through their attorneys Levy Konigsberg, filed a civil lawsuit against Foster-Wheeler based on the fact that the company failed to provide warnings about the hazards of asbestos that Mr. Stevens necessarily encountered when performing routine maintenance and repairs of the boilers. Foster-Wheeler then filed a legal motion asking the federal court located in Rhode Island, where the case is pending, to dismiss the lawsuit based on Foster-Wheeler’s argument that it had no legal duty to provide asbestos warnings to Mr. Stevens. Foster-Wheeler argued that it had no legal duty because the original asbestos-containing materials that it supplied with the boilers when installed in the 1940s would have been replaced with substantially similar asbestos-containing materials and parts prior to Mr. Stevens boarding the ship.
In response to the boiler manufacturer’s motion, the mesothelioma attorneys from Levy Konigsberg argued that Foster-Wheeler originally supplied asbestos-containing materials as part of the boilers installed on the USS Allagash and that Foster-Wheeler knew that such asbestos-containing materials would necessarily have to be replaced as part of the normal use of the product. In addition, Levy Konigsberg argued that Foster-Wheeler knew that boiler technicians like Mr. Stevens would be exposed to asbestos from the regular maintenance and repair of the boilers, yet Foster-Wheeler provided no warning to protect Mr. Stevens.
In the Court’s ruling today, Judge William E. Smith held that Foster-Wheeler, and other manufacturers of equipment, have a legal duty to warn “where the defendant manufactured a product that, by necessity, contained asbestos components, where the asbestos-containing material was essential to the proper functioning of the defendant’s product, and where the asbestos-containing material would be necessarily replaced by other asbestos-containing material, whether supplied by the original manufacturer or someone else.” As a result, the Court denied Foster-Wheeler’s motion and argument claiming that they had no legal duty to warn, which allows for the case to move forward toward a trial. Levy Konigsberg attorneys Keith Binder, Don Blydenburgh and Jerome Block all contributed to the legal victory.
The Court’s ruling in this case is important because it allows Navy servicemen to hold manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment responsible for failing to warn about the hazards of asbestos. Levy Konigsberg also won a similar ruling on behalf of another Navy boilerman who developed mesothelioma in a case filed in the Northern District of New York (https://www.levylaw.com/new-york-uss-roan-navy-mesothelioma-motion/). The firm is proud that these victories will help Navy servicemen receive compensation for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Levy Konigsberg has more than 30 years of experience in successfully representing victims of mesothelioma and their family members. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please contact Levy Konigsberg by filling out the form or having a “live chat” on this website, or contacting us at 800-988-8005.