Boiler Manufacturer Held Negligent in Supply of Asbestos Containing Parts to U.S. Navy
San Francisco Jury finds Manufacturer Foster Wheeler LLC Negligent in Navy Veteran’s Development of Mesothelioma
San Francisco, CA — January 4, 2008 — A San Francisco jury awarded $2,039,519 in total damages to the family of Calvin Oxford, a former Navy boiler tender who developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure during his Navy service in the 1960s that required working on marine boilers manufactured by Foster Wheeler Corporation. The jury found Foster Wheeler LLC negligent in supplying asbestos–containing boilers to the U.S. Navy to use aboard naval fighting ships. Mesothelioma claimed the life of Calvin Oxford, who spent four years aboard the USS KLONDIKE. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the lining of the lungs caused by exposures to asbestos dust from insulation, gaskets and packings commonly used to outfit ship boilers. Mr. Oxford worked on Foster Wheeler’s boilers aboard many other Navy vessels serviced by the USS KLONDIKE. Mr.Oxford’s surviving widow and two children were the plaintiffs in the case.
Foster Wheeler LLC and attorneys argued that the US Navy and other asbestos product manufacturers were to blame for Mr. Oxford’s exposure to asbestos. Although the jury found the US Navy about 50% responsible, they did not accept Foster Wheeler’s claim that they were without any fault whatsoever.
“We showed the jury that despite there being overwhelming evidence of the dangers of exposure to asbestos dating back to before Mr. Oxford was even born, Foster Wheeler ignored the dangers and did nothing to prevent others like Mr. Oxford from being injured by their asbestos products,” said Gilbert Purcell who, along with his associate Andrew Chew of Brayton Purcell LLP tried the case for the Oxford family. “Foster Wheeler simply failed to discharge its duty of ordinary care to avoid injury to others,” Purcell added.
The Honorable Tomar Mason Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court in California presided over the trial which lasted about four weeks. The exact amount of net judgment in favor of the Oxfords, and against Foster Wheeler is still to be determined.