Retired Welder Wins $315,000 Verdict for Asbestos–Related Injuries
SAN FRANCISCO — March 2, 1995 — A San Francisco jury awarded Robert Winsow, a retired welder, and his wife, $315,000 for lung cancer caused by his asbestos exposure while employed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. Metalclad Insulation Corporation, a southern California business, was found responsible, in part, for Mr. Winsow's injuries.
Mr. Winsow is a 67 year old retired welder now living in Vallejo, California. From 1944–1961 he worked as a welder throughout the Bay Area including shipyards and steel mills. In 1961 he started working at Mare Island Naval Shipyard helping build and repair nuclear submarines and was exposed to asbestos until 1973. He retired in 1988 having received numerous commendations for his work. In 1990 he was diagnosed as having asbestosis and in 1994 was diagnosed with lung cancer. His cancer is inoperable and generally considered fatal.
Metalclad Corporation is a southern California business that prior to 1973 was engaged in the distribution of asbestos products. In 1969 Metalclad sold asbestos products to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for use on the new construction of four nuclear submarines, including the Guitarro. The Guitarro was an infamous submarine because it was accidentally sunk shortly prior to its scheduled completion in July, 1969. After being retrieved the Guitarro was rebuilt and launched in 1972. Robert Winsow worked on board the Guitarro during the original construction and rebuilding. His work as welder required that he work in close proximity to insulators and others working with insulating materials.
Robert Winsow was a cigarette smoker. He smoked 1/2–1 pack of cigarettes per day from 1947–1988. The jury found that Robert Winsow was contributory negligent for smoking and attributed 30% of the cause of his lung cancer to him. His damages will be reduced by that amount.
Plaintiffs were represented at trial by Brayton Purcell LLP in Novato, California.