It is something of a grand understatement to simply say that the Supreme Court has been a heavy focus of national attention in recent weeks and months. While the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh has justifiably dominated the headlines and public discourse, far less attention has been placed on the first cases that will be heard by newly appointed associate justice Kavanaugh and the rest of the Court.
One of those cases, which is of significant importance for mesothelioma victims, is an asbestos liability case that was picked up by the Supreme Court. This week, the Supreme Court will hear a case that was filed by widows of Navy sailors regarding harms that they claim were caused by exposure to the harms of asbestos.
Navy Veteran Asbestos Case Makes Its Way to the Supreme Court
The asbestos case that will soon be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries, could have lasting implications for mesothelioma victims who were exposed to asbestos in the military. The lawsuit is based on facts that argue Navy sailors developed mesothelioma after asbestos exposure during their military service.
The defendants in the lawsuit are large companies that were equipment manufacturers for the Navy. It remains to be seen what will come of this new case, but here are a few key facts that could be significant in the upcoming case:
- The equipment that the companies sold had asbestos installed by companies after they had been purchased by the Navy.
- However, the companies that are defendants in the lawsuit also designed the equipment to be used in such a way that it could only be used safely with asbestos insulation.
- Maritime law will affect this case in all likelihood since the injuries and asbestos exposure likely occurred at sea. Such injuries operate outside state boundaries, making the Supreme Court the authority on matters of general maritime law like this one.
- Since maritime law will be involved, this case will present unique issues before the Court since many of its cases relate to constitutional issues. Since maritime law does not rely on the Constitution, the Court’s justices will be tasked with deciding the case based on previous case law.
These facts (and others) will be weighed by the Supreme Court before making a determination as to whether the defendants can be held liable for the harms caused by asbestos that were made, sold and installed on the equipment by other companies that are now bankrupt. In effect, the Court will decide whether asbestos manufacturers can face legal liability for third-party asbestos parts or installations if the injury was reasonably foreseeable.
The surviving widows argue in their legal claim that the manufacturers named in the lawsuit had knowledge of the fact that asbestos was necessary to make their equipment safe. This lawsuit could have lasting implications for mesothelioma victims since it is well-known that a disproportionate amount of mesothelioma victims are veterans. Despite making up less than ten percent of the population, it is thought that nearly 1 out of every 3 mesothelioma deaths are suffered by a veteran.
And, notably, these veterans are not able to sue the Navy or other branches of the Armed Services that are immune from legal liability. As such, the upcoming decision by the Court will go a long way toward deciding whether financial compensation and justice can be obtained for Navy veterans and surviving loved ones who were affected by mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure that occurred while serving in the military.
At The Ledger Law Firm, we will continue monitoring these important legal developments, and our nationally recognized law firm represents military veterans who were diagnosed with mesothelioma because of asbestos exposure. Contact us online for a free case evaluation with a mesothelioma lawyer for military veterans who were exposed to asbestos fibers.