An elderly couple now living in Colorado, Joseph and Mary Garza, filed suit in 2005 against Asbestos Corp. Ltd, after Joseph was diagnosed with asbestosis. The symptoms of asbestosis typically show up several decades after the person was first exposed to asbestos. Joseph had worked in Navy shipyards during the 1940s and 1950s where he used asbestos products in repairing boilers. He was given no protective mask or clothing, according to his trial testimony.

Asbestos fibers are microscopically small and become airborne as asbestos products are handled. Asbestos was used for many purposes for about 100 years because it is fire-resistant, electricity-resistant, and resistant to chemical change.

Now Joseph cannot walk more than half a block and must use a portable oxygen tank because the asbestos fibers became caught in his lungs. Because asbestos is resistant to chemical change, the body is unable to neutralize, dislodge, or excrete those fibers. Therefore they remain in the lungs, burrowing ever more deeply until they start filling the tiny air sacs where oxygen is taken in from the air and carbon dioxide is released to the air.

Joseph is 77 now and becoming unable to care for his wife, who depends on him because of her own health problems. On March 25, the California appeals court upheld the $11 million award against Asbestos Corp. Ltd, Joseph’s employer. Although he was exposed to asbestos in several later jobs, the jury held Asbestos Corp. to be 75% responsible for his illness today.

More people are being diagnosed in recent years with asbestos, because their symptoms are now becoming evident, after exposure to asbestos several decades ago. The same is true of mesothelioma, also caused by asbestos fibers lodged in the body. If you have been diagnosed with asbestos or mesothelioma, please call or email us to schedule a free consultation.