Mesothelioma widow gains right to seek punitive damages

Published on February 17, 2023

One of the most horrifying aspects of losing a loved one to malignant mesothelioma is knowing that their deadly form of cancer could have been prevented. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos, which means the person could still be alive if companies had warned about the dangers of their parts or equipment or provided protective equipment. Many victims’ families are seeking punitive damages to punish companies for their inaction. In a recent case, a New York judge dismissed a company’s attempt to have this type of lawsuit dismissed against it.

Widow blames asbestos in boiler for her husband’s mesothelioma

The case was filed by Roberta Gartner, whose husband James Scheriff died of malignant mesothelioma less than a year after the disease was diagnosed. In her lawsuit, Ms. Gartner named numerous companies, including Burnham LLC, whose water heaters he installed, removed, and serviced during his years as a plumber.

Before his death, the mesothelioma victim testified of visible dust coming from the jacket wrapped around Burnham’s boilers, and in her statement his widow points to Burnham’s failure to put an asbestos warning on her boilers, even though she wrapped his knew dangers.

Punitive damages sought in mesothelioma claim

Because of Burnham’s failure to warn of the dangers of her equipment, the widow is seeking punitive damages in addition to damages for her husband’s mesothelioma death. Burnham filed a motion to dismiss the punitive damages claim, arguing that the exposure to asbestos from their product was insufficient to have caused his illness and that the evidence against them did not reach the level needed to award punitive damages.

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In his review of the case, Judge Adam Silvera of the New York County Superior Court noted that the New York Circuit Court of Appeals has adopted a gross negligence standard regarding punitive damages in toxic tort cases such as those involving mesothelioma. This standard states that punitive damages are justified when “the actor knowingly committed an act of an unreasonable character in disregard for a known or apparent risk, which was so great that it was very likely that harm would ensue, and did so with willful indifference.” has done to the result.”

Judge allows claim for damages in mesothelioma case

He further cited from another case that “the purpose of punitive damages is not to indemnify the plaintiff, but to punish the accused for wanton and reckless malicious acts and thereby deter the accused and other persons and entities from acting in a similar manner.” to act future.” Because Burnham’s own company representative confirmed that the company had never warned any of its boilers, even after learning of the dangers of asbestos, the judge ruled that punitive damages could be sought as part of the mesothelioma lawsuit.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are many ways to seek justice. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

FREE Mesothelioma Pack Written by Terri Oppenheimer Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the main author of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power, and she is committed to sharing news about the effects of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and the stories of victims.

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