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Former Projectionist Wins Over $2.3 Million to Date in Mesothelioma Settlement

Written by Victoria Davis
Monday, 19 July 2010 18:29

A New York City man who worked for more than 20 years as a professional projectionist for the airlines and in dozens of movie theaters in the New York metro region found out too late that asbestos insulation that was used on projector lamp wires exposed him to asbestos, a mineral that can lead to mesothelioma cancer and lung cancer.

Tragically, his work-related exposure to asbestos caused him to develop malignant mesothelioma.  While many mesothelioma cancer patients typically lose their lives during the first year after their diagnosis, this man has been valiantly battling his illness for almost eight years.

During the years he has been fighting his illness, his lawyers at the New York City law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg have been fighting for justice for this man and his children, having secured approximately $2.3 million in lawsuit settlement proceeds.

As part of his mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, he gave testimony about his work history, mesothelioma diagnosis and his prognosis.

His first exposure to the dangerous mineral came when he was a small child.  His father, who worked at New York City’s Brooklyn Navy Yard for several years prior to WWII, worked with asbestos products on the job.  He recalled his father arriving home each night covered in what he now knows were asbestos-containing dusts:  “I remember him coming home….he would come home all full of dust and all kinds of dirt.”

For a short time before enlisting in the military and for approximately one year after his discharge, the man testified he worked for a plumbing supply company in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn as a clerk.  His daily duties required him to cut asbestos pipe covering for customers, handle large bags of asbestos-containing cement, and sweep up the storeroom where the pipe covering was cut and asbestos-containing materials (ACM) were stored.

Asbestos Insulation in Projectors and Projection Rooms
During the 1960s, the man completed a projectionists’ apprenticeship and obtained a license which qualified him to work as a movie theater projectionist in the New York City area.  Over the next two decades, in addition to working for a company that installed and loaded film reels for the movies screened on airline flights, he also received assignments from his local union to work at movie theaters in the metro New York region.

In his deposition, the man described the work of a professional projectionist and his work with commercial movie projectors during the 1960s-1980s.

An average- length movie would be shipped to theaters on 6 reels of film, and the screening of those films required him to load and reload the reels onto one of the two projectors in the projector room.

He testified that virtually all of the projectors used in movie theaters during that time period were carbon arc projectors.  The carbon arc projectors have what are known as lamp houses: “the part of the projector where the light comes from that goes through the projector to the film that goes on the screen.”  Because of the heat generated from a carbon arc projector lamp house, the lamp house wiring was insulated with asbestos.

During the screening of a movie, he testified he would have to clean out the lamp house multiple times during the day: “After each reel of film you’d clean out the carbons, the carbon drippings, and flaking from the asbestos would get in there… you had to keep the lamp house clean at all times to get the most out of the light.”

Symptoms of Mesothelioma First Discovered

As part of his annual physical, the man testified that his doctor “saw something” on his chest x-ray.  His doctors ordered a needle biopsy and other medical testing.  He was then told he had developed mesothelioma.  He subsequently underwent surgery, where his doctors told him “…It was in the lining and [his surgeon] was going to take out what he could…”

After his surgery, the man underwent 35 sessions of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy.  He testified that the treatment left him with recurring nausea from the chemotherapy and a constant feeling that something was caught in his throat that made it hard to swallow.

Emotional and Financial Effects on His Life and his Family
The man, who moved to Florida in the 1980s after his divorce was finalized, testified that he was currently living with his parents, both of whom were in their late 80s at the time of his deposition.

He testified that both parents suffered from medical conditions that prevented them from being able to drive and that both parents required assistance with shopping, household chores and other day-to-day help “to get around.”   He also testified that his older brother and two adult children both lived in the New York area, leaving both he and his parents without other family to provide day-to-day assistance with his health problems or to help his parents.

When asked about how his condition was affecting his life, he expressed concern about his aging parents and who would provide care for them if his illness prevented him from helping them.  He was also worried about how his health would impact his plans to serve as his son’s best man at his wedding, which was scheduled for the following year.  He also expressed sorrow about his prognosis, and sadness about whether he would survive his illness long enough to see his children start their own families.

The financial implications were also a concern, as his only income at the time was from a small pension from his job as a toll booth attendant for the State of Florida, and testified that his $367 per month pension was reduced to under $100 after monthly insurance premiums were deducted.  At the time of his deposition, he had not filed for either workers’ compensation or social security benefits.

About Mesothelioma Cancer

Mesothelioma disease is an asbestos cancer that is almost always caused by asbestos exposure. The cancer affects the mesothelium, the membrane that forms the lining of bodily cavities. When mesothelioma develops in the chest cavity, it is known as pleural mesothelioma (or lung mesothelioma). When it develops in the abdominal cavity, it is known as peritoneal mesothelioma. Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma and treatment options are generally palliative in nature, i.e. they are designed to provide relief from mesothelioma symptoms. Frequently reported symptoms of mesothelioma are coughing, difficulty breathing, abdominal swelling, fever and night sweats. One mesothelioma treatment approach is photodynamic therapy. The mesothelioma treatment PDT utilizes light of a specific wavelength to kill cancer cells.

Weitz & Luxenberg Mesothelioma Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a Weitz & Luxenberg mesothelioma attorney may be able to help. Weitz & Luxenberg is a leading mesothelioma law firm that has recovered millions of dollars in mesothelioma cases. The firm’s clients include former mechanics, sheet metal workers, construction workers, electricians, plumbers and others suffering from mesothelioma. Weitz & Luxenberg asbestos attorneys have been recognized as the “Best Lawyers of New York” by New York Magazine. For a free, online case review from an asbestos lawyer, visit http://www.weitzlux.com. For more information on jobs that involve a risk of developing mesothelioma, visit http://www.mesotheliomajobs.com.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 05 August 2010 21:45.

 

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