Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Mesothelioma Leads to $11M Jury Award

The family of a deceased Oakland, California man was awarded $11,000,000 by an Alameda County jury at the completion of the family’s wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma.

The wrongful death victim, Gordon Bankhead, contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure while changing out brake parts throughout his career as a mechanic. In January 2010, he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

By March 2010, he had filed an official complaint against Pneumo, the manufacturer of asbestos-containing brake products that was responsible for the exposure, along with several other defendants.

Gordon Bankhead passed in October 2011 at the age of 68, causing his family to file an additional lawsuit for wrongful death exclusively leveled at Pneumo. After less than two hours of deliberation, the jury determined that $6 million should be awarded to surviving wife Emily Bankhead and $2.5 million apiece should be awarded to his adult daughters: Tammy and Debbie.

The Bankheads’ wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma illustrates that, in some instances, the victim of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma can successfully win a personal injury case, and that after the victim’s passing, a separate wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma can be successfully pursued.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Mesothelioma a Tragic Conclusion to a Vibrant Life

Gordon Bankhead worked from 1965 to 1999 as a parts repairman on large trucks and other heavy duty vehicles, mainly focusing on the repair and replacement of vehicle brake parts. Many of said parts were manufactured by the Abex Corporation, now succeeded by Pneumo Abex LLC, and they contained significant amounts of asbestos material in their friction lining and anti-heat components.

As Bankhead repaired his daily cadre of vehicles, he would breathe in dust containing heavy amounts of asbestos particles. Asbestos then got trapped in his lung membranes, eventually causing a cell mutation that later led to a mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010.

After receiving his diagnosis, Bankhead sued Pneumo along with other parties deemed to be partially liable for his condition. The conclusion of that personal injury lawsuit resulted in a $4 million jury award.

Sadly, the damages were unable to provide a quality of care necessary to prolong Gordon Bankhead’s life, leading to his passing in 2011 at age 68. In June 2012, Gordon’s surviving wife Emily and two adult daughters filed a wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma seeking compensation for loss of companionship and emotional distress. The Lawsuit was filed in the Alameda County Superior Court under Judge Jo-Lynne Q. Lee.

After a preliminary phase where the jury found the defendant to have been at-fault for the wrongful death and that they had ignored their duty to act based on knowledge, the jury was asked in a second phase to determine an appropriate amount to compensate Gordon’s family for his death 17 years before the end of his life expectancy. The complaint stated that prior to his mesothelioma diagnosis, Gordon was in “good physical and mental condition and was a faithful and dutiful husband and father.”

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Mesothelioma as a Victim

Like Gordon Bankhead’s surviving wife and two daughters, many people are made the victims of negligence or malicious behavior on the part of companies who manufactured asbestos products. If you or a loved one have just experienced such a loss, make sure to exercise your legal right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma and get a small piece of justice for the suffering you have endured.

Matthew Davis

Author

Matthew Davis has studied journalism at the University of Colorado and has covered civil litigation for a variety of publications. He joined Mesowatch in 2016 and covers asbestos litigation developments in the U.S., as well as newsworthy asbestos cases.