Understanding, Managing, and Living with the

Health Effects of Asbestos

$3.9 Million Award for Estate of Asbestos Mesothelioma Victim

October 8, 2012

Mount Pleasant, SC William LaParl contributed 35 years of service to the Merchant Marines and had looked forward to a long and restful retirement. Instead, the Michigan man was diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma, an incurable disease affecting the linings of the lung and internal organs triggered from exposure to asbestos.

A diagnosis of Mesothelioma is considered a death sentence for the victim. Prevailing expectations are that a mesothelioma victim will be dead within 12 months of diagnosis.

LaParl lasted a month. Diagnosed in July 2006 the Merchant Marines retiree died a month later, in August 2006 at the age of 78.

An asbestos lawsuit was launched against various defendants, according to PR Newswire (9/19/12), and on September 7 an eight-member jury awarded LaParl's family $3.9 million for "substantially contributing" to the death of LaParl.

The case was tried before Judge Harry Hanna in the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, in Cuyahoga County Ohio. Delores A. LaParl, the widow of the deceased man, sued for asbestos compensation on behalf of LaParl's estate in an action that was separate from MDL-875, In re Asbestos Products Liability Litigation.

Asbestos is a known carcinogen that was historically used for decades in various capacities. A common use was for insulation found in the lagging of pipes onboard vessels in the shipping industry, as well as the military. The perils of asbestos are now well known, with an entire industry sprouting forth for asbestos remediation—if the asbestos needs to be removed at all. A latter strategy has emerged that asbestos fibers are not a danger provided they remain undisturbed.

When disturbed however, asbestos can be lethal, causing asbestosis and asbestos cancer. The PR Newswire release noted that an estimated 3,000 residents in the US and Canada are diagnosed with asbestos mesothelioma each year.

Unique to asbestos lawsuits, is the long incubation period commonly associated with asbestos injury. Exposure to asbestos typically does not result in symptoms, and a corresponding diagnosis until years and sometimes decades later.

It is for this reason the asbestos attorney will likely continue to be inundated with mesothelioma cases as long as 30 years or more following initial exposure to asbestos.

Defendants in the case were Oglebay Norton Company, Columbia Transport Co., Interlake Steamship Company and Pringle Transit Company, according to the release. The lawsuit is Delores A. LaParl, Personal Representative of the Estate of William S. LaParl, deceased v. Columbia Trans. Co., et al, No. CV-08-667485.