California Mesothelioma Lawyers

Our California mesothelioma and asbestos lawyers represent victims of asbestos exposure throughout California. We provide asbestos and mesothelioma victims the skills and resources to get maximum compensation. This page will look at mesothelioma lawsuits in California and their average settlement value.

About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a unique and deadly type of cancer. Mesothelioma originates in the lining surrounding the lungs and other organs inside the body (the “meso”).  What makes mesothelioma very unique in the world of cancer is that it is only caused by one thing: asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma only develops after an individual has been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma comes in several different types, depending on where it originates, but the most common is pleural mesothelioma (which originates in the lining around the lungs). This type accounts for over 80% of all mesothelioma cases.

Mesothelioma is an exceedingly rare form of cancer, with just over 3,000 cases diagnosed annually. That is less than 1% of all cancer cases. Mesothelioma is also the deadliest of all types of cancer, with a 5-year survival rate of under 12% and a 7-year survival rate of less than 1%.

Mesothelioma is caused ONLY from exposure to asbestos, one of the most toxic carcinogens in the world. Asbestos infiltrates the body when its particles are inhaled, lodging themselves in the tissue surrounding vital organs like the lungs. Over time, these fibers persist, never disintegrating, eventually forming scar tissue that leads to mesothelioma. Remarkably, the onset of this cancer is marked by a lengthy latency period, spanning 15 to 40 years from the initial exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos Exposure in California

For most of the 20th century, asbestos was a very widely used material in the United States. It was a very common construction material, and a component in various products. It was also frequently used for a variety of industrial applications. It is estimated that over 1 million workers in the U.S. were exposed to asbestos during the 20th century.

Over 3,000 commercial and consumer products once contained or were made from asbestos. This included things like automotive brakes and parts, talcum powder, insulation, roofing shingles, tiles, and on boilers. There were specific fields or industries where use of asbestos products was especially common. Industries with high levels of asbestos use and exposure included shipbuilding, steam fitting, manufacturing, railroads, steel working, and more.

The majority of the asbestos exposure in California occurred in the construction industry. California experienced a massive population growth from 1900 to the late 1970s (which is when asbestos was widely used). That population growth spawned a construction boom as houses, offices and other building to constructed to accommodate the growing population. California also has major ports and industrial sites throughout the state that were covered in asbestos products. This made California one of the highest risks states for asbestos exposure.

California leads the nation in asbestos-related fatalities. It also has some of the globe’s most extensive asbestos deposits. Various workplaces and geological zones within the state have posed significant hazards to workers and residents alike. Between 1999 and 2013, the scourge of asbestos exposure led to thousands of mesothelioma cases and other asbestos-related illnesses in California.

Hunters Point Shipyard

The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco served as the inaugural dry dock on the Pacific Coast, utilized by the Navy for shipbuilding, repair, and maintenance endeavors. Post-World War II, its operations expanded to encompass ship repair, submarine servicing, and testing. In 1987, examinations confirmed the presence of asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and lead. Subsequently, the EPA designated it as a Superfund site, leading to its closure in 1991.

Efforts to address the contamination commenced in 1990, with workers removing asbestos from 24 specific zones, totaling an estimated 226,000 square feet of asbestos-contaminated materials. This remediation initiative persisted for years, concluding under Navy oversight in 1995. According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the remaining asbestos poses no discernible threat to the general populace.

Moore Drydock Company

The More Dry Dock Company in Oakland extensively utilized asbestos in its vessels, leading to significant legal ramifications. Juries have consistently awarded substantial settlements to plaintiffs in asbestos-related lawsuits against the shipyard.

For instance, in 2001, the family of a merchant seaman who served on two Moore-built cargo ships was granted $700,000 in damages due to his death from mesothelioma. The jury held Moore accountable, citing the notification by the United States Maritime Commission in 1942 regarding the hazards of asbestos.

Similarly, in a 2000 case, a jury awarded $10.35 million to the husband of a woman who had worked in the Moore Dry Dock shipyard during World War II. The jury determined that the woman’s exposure to asbestos occurred not only during her employment but also through her husband’s work as a pipefitter for over 30 years, as she was exposed to asbestos fibers present on his clothing.

Other California Asbestos Sites

Castle Air Force Base (Atwater) Alameda Naval Air Station (Alameda)
Edwards Air Force Base (Lancaster) McClellan Air Force Base (Sacramento)
Sacramento Army Depot (Sacramento) Barstow Marine Corps Base (Barstow)
George Air Force Base (Victorville) Riverbank Ammunition Plant (Modesto)

California Mesothelioma Verdicts

Below are summaries of recent verdicts in California mesothelioma cases. Keep in mind that for each public verdict in a mesothelioma case, there are probably 20 more cases that get resolved in confidential settlements.

$15 Million Verdict (2024): A significant legal victory was achieved when a widow secured a $15 million judgment against Pneumo Abex Co. The lawsuit stemmed from her late husband’s death due to mesothelioma, which was directly linked to his exposure to asbestos from brakes manufactured or distributed by the company. The trial highlighted the company’s failure in its product design, which did not perform safely as any ordinary consumer would expect under normal usage conditions, contributing substantially to the plaintiff’s condition. Moreover, the jury determined that Pneumo Abex was aware of the inherent risks in their products but failed to adequately warn consumers, significantly endangering users. The verdict emphasized the company’s breach of duty in failing to warn and its overall negligence, casting a spotlight on corporate responsibility towards consumer safety and health.

$8,874,741 Verdict (2023): The decedent worked as a laborer for oil refineries in the 1970s, during which he was exposed to asbestos. He was also exposed to asbestos during his work on a land survey crew at the City of Newport Beach in the 1980s. The work brought him close to workers cutting asbestos cement pipe distributed and installed by defendants J-M Manufacturing Company Inc. and George Dakovich & Son Inc., respectively. He died from mesothelioma at age 73. The defendants denied that decedent was close enough to the cutting of the pipe to be at an increased risk of mesothelioma. They also claimed Metzger’s employer, the City of Newport Beach, should have protected him from the asbestos cement pipe.

$40,000,000 Verdict (2023): The decedent served in the U.S. military, owned an electric motor repair and rewind shop, and repaired electric motors, including those manufactured by defendant Emerson Electric Co. and a subsidiary, and those manufactured by other businesses. Beginning in the 1960s and lasting for more than 30 years, he allegedly performed repair and rewind work on motors that exposed him to their internal parts, including asbestos-containing slot insulation, phase paper insulation, and varnish. He died of mesothelioma and his estate sued Emerson and others.

$52,131,453 Verdict (2022): Plaintiff said she used talc-containing body powders and face powders for many years. The talc reportedly contained asbestos. The plaintiff said she was also exposed to asbestos-containing joint compound used by her husband during home remodeling projects, as well as asbestos-containing automotive parts. The asbestos-containing products reportedly were manufactured, designed, distributed and/or sold by defendants Avon Products Inc. and Hyster-Yale Group Inc. The plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The jury determined Avon was 90 percent at fault and Hyster-Yale was ten percent at fault.

$710,000 Verdict (2021): A former sheet metal worker died from mesothelioma. The defendant manufactured machines that the decedent operated at work, which contained asbestos friction parts. The verdict was lower because the defendant was only found 5% at fault.

$2,545,000 Verdict (2020): The plaintiff claimed his mesothelioma was caused by his cumulative exposure to asbestos in several products, including insulation products sold by defendant Metalclad Insulation. The plaintiff claimed the defendant was strictly liable for his harm based on the theories of design defect, failure to warn, and negligent failure to warn; he also asserted causes of action against the defendant for negligence based on the defendant’s alleged failure to warn and failure to recall or retrofit its asbestos installation products.

Contact Our California Asbestos Lawyers

If you (or a family member) have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and want compensation, contact our California asbestos lawyers today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation

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