The Italian-born widow of an American man who was diagnosed with mesothelioma while living in Italy has been granted a $9 million asbestos verdict…but only because the Italians stepped in and provided evidence that definitively proved his exposure to asbestos at the hands of a U.S. company.
The Daily Business Review reports that Rosa-Maria Britt and her husband Dennis met while the American was stationed overseas with the U.S. Army Special Forces. After being discharged from duty, Mr. Britt sold benefits packages to large corporations in the United States, including Northrup Grumman (NG), a leader in the aerospace and defense technology industry.
The Britts long believed that it was Dennis’ visits to Northrup between the years 1978 and 1988 that caused him to develop mesothelioma. While visiting the corporation, he was regularly exposed to the asbestos-containing insulation used at the company’s aircraft manufacturing facilities. But NG said “no” and insisted that Dennis’ lungs were clear of asbestos fibers.
That’s where the Italians enter the picture. To determine the amount of asbestos in Britt’s lungs, NG’s defense team used a wet lung tissue test, which does not count fibers that are identified as less than five microns long.
But because Britt was diagnosed in Italy, he was subject to testing by the Italian government, which uses a dry lung tissue test. When that was administered, “they found crazy amounts of asbestos in the guy’s lungs,” noted the attorney for Rosa-Maria Britt. As a matter of fact, the test showed 650,000 asbestos fibers per gram of tissue. That’s a sure sign of asbestos exposure.
Still, Northrup Grumman attorneys continued to argue that Britt’s disease wasn’t necessarily caused by asbestos exposure and, if it was, it wasn’t from his visits to their plants. However, the test completed in Italy also helped with that situation.
The type of fibers found in the victim’s lungs matched the fibers detected in an asbestos survey of NG’s facilities in California and New York, which Dennis Britt visited frequently. Specifically, the fibers most likely came from insulation from the facilities’ steam generators.
The jury was convinced that the evidence spoke for itself and the verdict was in Rosa-Maria Britt’s favor, with an award of $9 million.
Mrs. Britt never expected to lose her husband at 64 years of age. All evidence pointed to the fact that he was in excellent condition and had maintained the strength and good health that came with being in the Army’s Special Forces when he was younger.
However, mesothelioma struck him down just as the couple was likely getting ready to enjoy their retired years with family and friends. Now, Rosa-Maria is left without her loving companion.
Many individuals are caught off-guard by a diagnosis of mesothelioma and it’s often difficult to ascertain where the asbestos exposure occurred. However, for those who hope to sue whoever is responsible, an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help but the pieces together and can craft a lawsuit that will potentially result in a positive outcome for the victim and/or his survivors.