Two Brothers Joined US Navy in 1965 Separated by Death from Mesothelioma Caused by Asbestos Exposure
NEW YORK, New York, February 27, 2012 - Almost forty-seven years after they joined together to serve our country, Michael and James Moreno were faced with saying farewell to each other forever. Michael Moreno and his younger brother, James, volunteered to join the US Navy in 1965 and served together on the USS Renville and USS Valley Forge through 1967. While aboard these vessels, Michael Moreno worked throughout the ships, but particularly in the engine rooms, evaporator rooms, and other areas below decks. Mr. Moreno traveled to various places overseas on both of the ships and was also involved in the decommissioning of the USS Renville. Sadly, Michael was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2009 and died exactly eighteen months after the date of his diagnosis.
Michael Moreno and his family filed a mesothelioma lawsuit to recover money damages from the manufacturers of various asbestos containing products that were present on the ships that he served on. Now, nearly two years later, the manufacturer of an oil purifier, used onboard the USS Renville, agrees to settle the case just prior to trial.
Since the onset of WWII, this particular manufacturer had been a key supplier of oil separators to the marine industry, in particular the United States Navy. Generally, oil is stored in huge quantities on a ship and used for running the engines or for lubricating purposes. It is used extensively in the engine room, and needs to be cleaned using purifiers before or during operations. There are heavy oil purifiers, diesel oil purifiers, and lubricating oil purifiers. The purpose of the oil purifiers was to remove impurities from the fuel and lube oil by means of a centrifuge, which contained asbestos components. The product at issue in this case was an oil purifier and the asbestos components that were used in it including brake pads, gaskets, and packing material.
As testified to in his depositions, Mr. Moreno’s responsibilities included cleaning and servicing the purifiers. Ship repair specifications, provided by the National Archives regarding this purifier, required servicemen, like Mr. Moreno, to disassemble the purifier, clean and check all parts, and correct any misalignment found. This included the responsibility to renew the missing hand brake assembly, renew the pulley and bearings, belts, studs, nuts, washers and other parts. It also included overhauling the rotary gear pump and renewing all the gaskets, balancing or renewing the bowl, and re-aligning the machine. Once that was completed, the servicemen had to check and correct any cause of vibration, and were required to re-install and conduct operational tests for satisfactory operating conditions.
Historically, this manufacturer has maintained that in the routine maintenance of its purifier, one could not be exposed to asbestos. Carmen St. George, a trial attorney with Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, discovered documentary and testimonial evidence that contradicted those contentions, resulting in a recovery for Mr. Moreno’s family. Moreno extensively described his exposure to this equipment while at sea as well as during the work he performed in the process of decommissioning the USS Renville. Moreno painfully recalled the dust in the air from breaking and tearing down various asbestos containing pieces of equipment, including purifiers, particularly during the decommissioning process. Furthermore, plaintiff produced documents evidencing the presence of this purifier on board the USS Renville, and brought to light expert and corporate representative testimonies confirming that this type of equipment would routinely be maintained by servicemen in Mr. Moreno’s position. Plaintiff maintained that during the period of time when he served on the USS Renville, the connecting pipes that were attached to the purifier would have employed the use of asbestos containing flange gaskets. There were approximately nine flange gaskets that were part of each purifier, and when the purifier needed to be taken apart, these nine flange gaskets would have to be removed from the piping system and replaced with new gasketing material. In addition to the asbestos-containing flange gaskets, heaters serving the fuel service lines were insulated with asbestos, two brake pads contained in the purifiers also included asbestos, and an asbestos-containing packing material was used on the motor driven pumps associated with the purifiers, thereby all corroborating the potential for Mr. Moreno’s exposure to asbestos from this product.
Ultimately resolving the lawsuit against the manufacturer of this purifier in Mr. Moreno’s favor paves the way for other servicemen with similar exposure to recover in these extremely complex cases. Mesothelioma Lawyers from Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, are actively prosecuting lawsuits in New York and New Jersey on behalf of mesothelioma victims, including those exposed to asbestos while serving in the US Navy. Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, a fatal cancer that occurs primarily in the lining of the lungs and the abdomen.
For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.
For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, at 212-605-6200 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mesothelioma has no known cure and often causes severe pain, suffering, and other types of damage, such as loss of consortium, and loss of income. Additionally, due to the exceedingly high cost of mesothelioma treatments, many families exhaust savings and accumulate financial debt in order to pay for the medical expenses of their family member.
Under the law of most states, pain and suffering from mesothelioma may be compensated through the award of money damages, usually obtained with the help of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. In some states other types of damages may also be recovered.
Asbestos litigation affords mesothelioma victims the opportunity to receive financial compensation and hold accountable the companies that caused their asbestos exposure.
If you or your family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should get in touch with a mesothelioma lawyer as early as possible to determine if you have a mesothelioma case and to:
- Preserve your rights to bring a legal action against the responsible parties within the limited time frame allowed by law, known as statute of limitations;
- Obtain maximum compensation in your case by being able to:
- Preserve evidence and establish facts of the asbestos exposure while the claimant is still alive and able to provide information;
- File and resolve a lawsuit against the responsible parties before they file for bankruptcy or, if they already have, to obtain compensation before their bankruptcy trust funds run out of money;
- Expedite your case, as courts tend to give higher priority to mesothelioma lawsuits where the claimant is still alive.
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529) or by submitting an email inquiry (see form above). Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
While our offices are located in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, many of our mesothelioma lawyers are licensed to practice law in a number of U.S. states and have the capability and extensive experience of representing mesothelioma clients throughout the United States.
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