A surviving wife of a Navy aircraft repairman, whose details have only been released to the press as "Patrick D.," was offered a settlement in a case against Tire & Rubber Co. The terms were confidential, but the wife of Patrick D., known as Patti D., received the asbestos wrongful death settlement as the result of a lawsuit first filed in July 2011.

Filed as Case No. 311-cv-03376 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern California District of California, Patti D. faced an uphill battle against the manufacturing conglomerate juggernaut, which at first tried to deny any connection to the asbestos exposure of Patrick D., his subsequent malignant mesothelioma diagnosis and his death.

Patrick’s surviving family alleges that Goodyear was aware of the risks of asbestos exposure, yet still included the material in its aircraft components and knowingly subjected U.S. Navy employees and contract workers to dangerous asbestos exposure without reasonable protective measures.

While the exact settlement amount in this case is protected by a non-disclosure agreement, Patti and the rest of her family no doubt feel relief that their litigation experience is over.

However, no amount of money can make up for the anguish, fear and grief they experienced while Patrick D. suffered from his mesothelioma. Companies like Goodyear are increasingly coming to justice thanks to the hard work of mesothelioma victim advocates and expert legal representation that can bring about asbestos wrongful death settlements.

A High Risk of Exposure for Men Who Defended Their Country

Patrick D.’s mesothelioma diagnosis and subsequent death is an all-too-common occurrence among U.S. Navy personnel, civilian workers and contractors. Use of asbestos in Navy ships has been documented for over a century. Navy ships are at a high risk for fires, which on the high seas means that the entire crew’s lives are at stake with every fire outbreak.

To protect against this risk, heavy amounts of asbestos were used in lining, shielding, housing and insulation materials throughout the ship. Navy employees who worked near the boiler room and pump room as well as those who were working regularly in the chambers near the bow were all at extremely high risk of asbestos exposure.

Those who performed repairs or maintenance, like Patrick D., were at an even higher risk of uncovering asbestos materials, disturbing the fibers and inhaling them. In fact, entire ships from bow to stern presented asbestos exposure risks, even in the personnel quarters. Even a Navy Surgeon General’s annual report from 1939 highlighted the “Hazards of Asbestos,” but his warnings were not heeded.

Legal action in these cases is typically not pursued against the U.S. Navy itself, but rather against the materials and equipment manufacturers that chose to use asbestos as a component of their products despite evidence of the risk of asbestos exposure. Many victims who were exposed subsequently died from mesothelioma as a result of these companies’ mistakes.

Surviving family members and members of the estate can pursue wrongful death lawsuits against these companies, as Patti D. has done. The awards or settlement amounts provided cannot make up for the loss of a loved one, but they can begin to set right the damages done by neglect or willful endangerment.