Washington Family Awarded $2.5 Million in “Second-Hand” Asbestos Case
A King County, Washington jury awarded $3.5 million to the family of a woman who died from mesothelioma traced to second-hand asbestos exposure. Although the award was recently reduced by $1 million by an appellate court, it is still one of the largest in the history of the state regarding what is also known as “take-home” asbestos exposure.
A Tragic, Yet All-Too Common Story
The plaintiff in the case, Barbara Brandes, was exposed to asbestos brought home by her husband, who worked at a Ferndale, WA refinery. The exposure occurred mainly from fibers that were lodged in her husband’s clothing.
The family sued several companies, including ARCO, Brand Insulations, Union Carbide and others, alleging that the defendants manufactured, sold or distributed products that contained asbestos or were used in conjunction with the deadly material.
Brandes’ daughter Ramona told a local newspaper that she would regularly see her mother shake dust out her father’s clothes after he came home from work. She also said that the refinery at which her father worked had more than 200 employees yet only four showers. Workers would, she said, have to “wait hours” if they wanted to clean the asbestos dust and other debris from their bodies after a shift. In addition, the facility did not offer any sort of laundry service, forcing employees to clean their work clothes on their own.
Most people associate mesothelioma with the people who were directly exposed to the material at work. However, thousands of spouses and children suffered exposure as well, with their loved ones having no idea they were putting their wives, husbands, sons and daughters at risk.