An appellate court in Washington state backed a $2.2 million mesothelioma compensation against oil tycoon Exxon.
The case involves a former worker of ExxonMobil Oil. He died of mesothelioma after alleged asbestos exposure while working for the corporate giant.
The deceased’s son filed a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit after an autopsy linked the cause of death to pleural mesothelioma. The victim, who died in 2015, worked for Exxon decades ago – in the 1970s – to remove old insulation around pipes at a refinery.
Asbestos Usage at Oil Refineries
Companies often bought asbestos to cover insulation and better protect it and nearby elements from overheating. Pipes and plumbing at refineries are obvious candidates for fire damage, so coating insulation in asbestos made sense at the time.
Asbestos, however, is a known carcinogen. It is linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer, becoming deadly when the sensitive mineral is disturbed. Swallowing or inhaling asbestos fibers is quite common, and the sharp fibers can pierce into tissue linings near the lungs or abdomen.
Companies either knew by 1980 that asbestos could cause cancer or didn’t make enough effort to educate themselves to protect workers.
Other Companies Involved in Original Claim
The lawsuit included other gas companies – Shell Oil and Texaco Inc., to name a few – but the appellate court rejected the verdicts against these defendants. The only one held up was against ExxonMobil.
A three-judge panel stood by the lower court’s $2.2 million verdict. The website Law360 first reported the news of the appeal result.
Exxon Linked to Asbestos Before
This is not the first case involving ExxonMobil and asbestos exposure. A New Jersey woman received $7 million from Exxon after being diagnosed with mesothelioma from washing her husband’s asbestos-ridden clothes after he worked for the company and wasn’t told of the dangers of asbestos. She also filed a mesothelioma lawsuit based on secondary asbestos exposure.
The woman’s verdict was confirmed in 2010 by a New Jersey appellate court. The worker was an employee of Exxon’s Linden Bayway Refinery from 1969-2004. The first decade or so of his tenure was still the peak of asbestos usage. His job required removing asbestos to fix pumps and filters.
According to the news website NJ.com, Exxon did not inform workers that on-site dust had asbestos. The company also didn’t give employers uniforms or respirators for protection. The worker’s wife was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 2001, after she also worked for the refinery.
Asbestos exposure in oil refineries was quite common during the 20th century. Even today, some workers may remove old insulation with asbestos remnants to update pipes or plumbing.
We urge anyone diagnosed with mesothelioma – or the family of deceased victims – to contact our legal team. Karen Ritter, a lead patient advocate, can help you through the process of finding a lawyer, filing a claim and learning what caused your cancer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sources & Author
- $2.2M Mesothelioma Verdict Against Exxon Is Affirmed. Law360. Retrieved from: https://www.law360.com/articles/1448310. Accessed: 01/26/2022.
- N.J. appellate court upholds $7M award from Exxon to woman handling husband’s asbestos-laden clothing. NJ.com. Retrieved from: https://www.nj.com/news/2010/08/nj_appellate_court_upholds_7m.html. Accessed: 01/26/2022.