In 1949, our client began his career as an apprentice bricklayer at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, New York. From 1951 to 1953, he served in the United States Army. After his honorable discharge in 1953, he resumed his apprenticeship as a Bethlehem Steel bricklayer. He became a journeyman bricklayer in the mid-1950s and continued working as a bricklayer at Bethlehem Steel until his retirement in 1984.
Our client worked throughout the Bethlehem Steel facility, including the Open Hearths, the Mold Yards, the Basic Oxygen Furnace, the Coke Oven Division, the Soaking Pits and the Blast Furnaces. As a bricklayer, he worked with bricks, asbestos-containing refractories and insulation materials. His duties frequently involved working in close proximity to outside contractors applying asbestos-containing insulation to steam pipes and other hot surfaces. He also worked with asbestos-containing hot top systems.
Our client was in generally good health until the summer of 2014. A chest x-ray revealed a pleural effusion. Fluid was drained from his chest cavity, but was non-diagnostic. Exploratory surgery revealed pleural-based tumors, which were biopsied and diagnosed as pleural malignant mesothelioma.
In September 2014, a lawsuit was commenced against the manufacturers and distributors of the asbestos-containing products used at the steel plant. By the fall of 2015, the case was resolved for well over $1 million.
After the lawsuit settled, our client’s disease progressed, and he tragically succumbed to his mesothelioma just after Christmas 2015. Though the family has asked not to reveal his name, we can say that it has been a privilege for our attorneys to represent a man who spent his entire adult life working hard and caring for his family. He was a widower and is survived by one daughter and two grandchildren. He enjoyed working on small engines and spending time with his family.