Ship Owner Denies Role in Man’s Mesothelioma Death

Released November 16, 2022

Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. When a mesothelioma patient decides to seek justice from those responsible, the first step is to identify all the companies involved. In a recent case, the shipping company SeaRiver Maritime objected to being named as a defendant following the death of a victim. Despite their arguments, the judge in charge ruled that they had to answer for their role in his illness.


The man’s mesothelioma, which is traced back to his job as a pipe maker’s helper

Paul Hotard died of malignant mesothelioma in September 2021, about a year and a half after his diagnosis. Before his death, he attributed his exposure to asbestos to when he worked as an assistant pipemaker for Huntington Ingalls Inc. at Avondale Shipyards. He filed suit against several defendants, including SeaRiver Maritime, whose asbestos-contaminated ships he helped build.

The company filed a summary judgment motion to dismiss the mesothelioma lawsuit against them. They claimed that although they owned at least one supertanker that Mr. Hotard helped build, they shouldn’t be responsible because they weren’t required to warn someone else’s employee of the risks of their work, and that they had no legal Had control of his construction site. They were assisted in their legal plea by Exxon Mobil Corporation, also named in the lawsuit.

Judge reviews rules regarding negligence in mesothelioma claims

In reviewing the facts of the mesothelioma claim, District Judge Eldon E. Fallon of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana reviewed the elements necessary to establish liability for a claim of negligence. He found that the companies’ argument that they had no control over the ships was insufficient, since according to the ships’ contracts they would be considered the buyer’s property at the time they arrived at the contractor’s plant, even before the actual handover of possession.

As for the issue of work environment control, the judge conceded that while it was Mr Hotard’s employer who had control over his work environment, the shipping companies also played a role in explicitly or implicitly authorizing unsafe work practices – in this one Case of the incorporation of asbestos in shipbuilding, despite the awareness of the dangers posed by the carcinogenic material. As a result, the judge agreed that the companies had created the risk of his exposure to asbestos and had played a role in creating unsafe working conditions. Neither company is dismissed from the claims.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the first step towards justice is to determine how you were exposed to asbestos. If you need help with this and many other challenges, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann 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.

Find out more about and contact Terri