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Pipe Layer

Settlement:  $2.4 Million

The family of James H. was happy to share some good news that came as a result of successful $2.4 million settlement from his mesothelioma lawsuit against asbestos companies.  James H. (aka Jim) was born in 1937 in Little Rock, Arkansas to a family of farmers.  Wilma, his wife, met him when she was 15, saying it was “love at first sight.”  They married a couple years later, on August 29, 1959, and remained together almost sixty years, until his death just before Christmas in 2008.  Jim and Wilma had four children, three sons (one now deceased) and a daughter, and several grandchildren.

Jim worked up until the day the mesothelioma became so bad that he was in too much pain to continue.  He spent much of his adult life laying pipe in underground construction, the main suspected source of his asbestos exposure.  Even after he became too ill to continue, Wilma says that “he was always the type to stay busy all the time.  He was always helping the neighbors, fixing their water pipes if they broke, helping the older neighbors when they needed it, and doing errands for everyone.” 

Jim also loved to have family barbeques in the back yard, go fishing, and was constantly tinkering with tools and fixing things.  Wilma smiles as she talks about how at one point he took over the cooking, making up his own special recipes, and how he became famous for his potato cakes and tender fried chicken. 

Then the mesothelioma took hold, and Jim was constantly having a hard time breathing, feeling weak all the time, and had terrible pain in his chest.  After a few months, he gave in and went to the hospital because, as Wilma says with sadness in her voice, “he just couldn’t take the pain any more.”  After the hospital stay, a diagnosis of advanced cancer, and a prognosis of short survival time, Jim made it clear that he wanted to die at home, which he was able to do with the help of his family, close friends, and Hospice. 

In less than four months since his hospital visit, he died four days before Christmas in 2008.  Wilma was terribly distraught over his death but glad he was out of pain.  She says, “It got to the point where the pain was so bad that even with medication, there would be nights he couldn’t sleep at all and would cry out.  After the asbestos cancer took hold, it tore me apart…got me to where I couldn’t think straight or remember anything…weakened me a lot.  Never knew when I went to check on him if he would still be breathing anymore.”

Right before his death, Wilma shared “I have no idea what I’ll do without him.”  After his death, Wilma’s anxiety and depression worsened, causing the symptoms of her Lupus (a disease that had plagued her for years) to escalate.  Wilma said, “I feel more lonely and I feel empty all the time.”  Although her children and a couple close family friends were near by, nothing could make up for the loss she felt. 

The attorneys who had gone to her home to take her deposition and who had been diligently working on her and her children’s behalf in the wrongful death lawsuit knew how much it meant to Jim that Wilma be well cared for after his death.  Clapper Patti Schweizer & Mason was very successful in getting settlements and, knowing the grief that Wilma was experiencing and difficulties with her own health,  the attorneys and whole legal team made the process as easy as possible for her. 

A couple of years later, CPSM was absolutely delighted to hear from Jim’s son, James, with good news about his mom.  James shared that because of the settlement money, his mom was able to tear down the old home that she had grown up in and build a brand new home – an act that he says “renewed my mom’s life and truly lifted her spirits.”  Here is a picture of the whole family in front of the new house, sent to us with words of deep gratitude for all the legal help, support and compassion shared by our law firm.