If you were seriously injured, remember that it is crucial to choose the right law firm to represent your interests. We have been doing this for more than three decades, and have the resources you need to challenge any opponent.
Barabin v. AstenJohnson, Inc: Daubert Hearings in Mesothelioma Cases
Our mesothelioma attorneys know that these cases are highly complex. Families must choose a law firm with the resources and experience to build these cases for the courtroom while demanding victims are compensated by corporations facing a barrage of litigation for asbestos exposure that occurred decades ago.
Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have neither the time nor the energy to cope with legal missteps or mistakes. That is why it is critical to choose an experienced law firm that dedicates a significant portion of its practice to mesothelioma litigation.
A recent ruling out of Washington illustrates how one oversight can topple an entire case. The case, Barabin v. AstenJohnson, Inc., was brought first by Henry Barabin and later, after his death, was carried on as a wrongful death suit by his widow.
Mr. Barabin worked at a papermill from 1968 through 2001. From the time he started the job until about 1984, he routinely worked with dryer felts that were made with asbestos. Those felts were manufactured by two different companies, Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. and AstenJohnson Inc. In addition to using the felts in the course of his job, he also, with permission from his employer, took portions of the fabric home to use in his garden. He had no idea that doing so put himself and his family at grave risk for mesothelioma.
In 2006, just five years after he had retired, Mr. Barabin was diagnosed with mesothelioma, and he and his wife filed suit in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington.
During the course of the trial, one of the industrial health experts that was called to testify on behalf of the plaintiff was reportedly excluded from the witness list by the judge, who stated the individual had “dubious” credentials and was not well-qualified to speak as an expert with regard to paper mills and dryer felts. Later in the proceedings, however, the judge changed his mind, and allowed the witness to testify.
In the end, the Barabins were awarded nearly $10 million in punitive damages.
But the joy of that win was short-lived when the defendants requested a new trial, on the basis of the fact that the court had failed to conduct a Daubert hearing prior to allowing the “expert” witness to testify. Named after the Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm case of 1993, such hearings are held before a judge, who must determine the validity of so-called expert testimony. Such hearings can be held for witnesses of either side, and are done prior to trial, as a determination of what the jury will be allowed to hear.
The idea is to vet the scientific principals, methodologies or reasoning of a witness who claims to be an expert. The court has a vested interest in making sure juries don’t give more weight to the testimony of witnesses whose methods aren’t based in solid science, or who is inexperienced in the field or otherwise unqualified to testify.
It’s not uncommon for defendants in these cases to fight liability verdicts tooth and nail, and this was one of several points raised. While the District Court affirmed the earlier decision, a three-judge appellate panel ruled that the oversight was serious enough to warrant a new trial.
Which means the family must endure the ordeal all over again and hope for a similarly positive outcome.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Mesothelioma & Asbestos
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a carcinogenic, naturally occurring fibrous mineral. Known for its heat resistance and durability, asbestos has historically been used in insulation, construction materials, automotive parts, and shipbuilding materials.
Why is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos is made up of small shard-like fibers that can easily become airborne when disturbed. If inhaled or ingested, these fibers can embed within the lining of the lungs, heart, stomach, or testes where they can cause cancer to form years or decades later.
What are asbestos-related diseases?
Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer.
What causes mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is an aggressive and incurable form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until decades after exposure.
What are the different types of mesothelioma?
Three of the most common types of mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, and pericardial mesothelioma.
What are common mesothelioma symptoms?
Common symptoms of mesothelioma include difficulty breathing and chest pains. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the stomach, may cause abdominal swelling, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a preventable form of cancer most commonly caused by asbestos exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos while serving in the U.S. military or while working in construction, mechanics, or a similar field, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation.
What is the life expectancy for someone with mesothelioma?
There is no cure for mesothelioma. However, patients can receive treatments for mesothelioma that may extend their initial prognosis with proper treatment. Those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma usually have a life expectancy that is greater than three years, though a large part of this depends on the stage the patient is diagnosed. The earlier the diagnosis, the longer the life expectancy and chance of long-term survival.
Do I qualify for compensation if I have mesothelioma?
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should immediately seek long-term medical treatment. After that, you should contact our firm to examine your legal rights. Since 1985, The Ferraro Law Firm has represented individuals with asbestos-related diseases and pursued fair compensation on their behalf. Our firm is one of the top five law firms in the U.S. handling mesothelioma and asbestos cases.
Help for mesothelioma victims can be found at The Ferraro Law Firm by calling (888) 554-2030. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.