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Estimator

Age:  55

Settlement:  $5.1 Million

Jose was a 55 year old estimator when he was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Jose is married with three children, all of whom were still living with Jose at the time of his diagnosis. Jose had spent the early part of his career working as a marine insulator aboard ships, primarily in San Diego. Jose also grew up in a household where his stepfather worked in the ship building and repairing trade.

Our office had been collecting information about California shipyards, ship repair contractors and products used in California shipyards for many years. We were able to quickly develop a list of products and companies that were likely responsible for Jose’s asbestos exposure.

We filed suit against these companies, and our team of investigators went to work–interviewing scores of witnesses who worked with Jose, or who worked for other contractors on the same ships.We took the depositions of many of these witnesses, who helped us prove which products Jose was exposed to.

Jose also told us that he used masks to try to prevent asbestos exposure during his years in the shipyard, but told us the masks were not very effective. We learned that the company that made the masks sold them for use around asbestos, but knew they did not adequately protect workers. We also sued the manufacturer of the masks. We forced the company to give us tens of thousands of pages of relevant documents, which we combed through to find the truth about the company’s masks, and about what the company knew and what it did with this knowledge. We took the deposition of the company’s representative over two days, asking him about the key documents. We began a trial against the mask manufacturer, and settled during trial.

The manufacturers of the asbestos products settled before trial, for a total settlement of over $5 million. As of this writing (June, 2008), Jose is still doing well, over four years after his diagnosis. He is still living an active life, thanks to chemotherapy which has slowed the growth of his tumor. After his case resolved, Jose has tried to help other shipyard workers diagnosed with mesothelioma, by testifying as witness in several other court cases.