New York law firm Belluck & Fox, LLP announced today that a machinist mate who developed and then died from mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos has won a $3.2 million verdict against Jenkins Bros, manufacturer of the valves which led to his exposure.
After a trial before the Honorable Richard T. Aulisi, the jury returned its verdict on May 18 in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Schenectady, in the case of Scott Shays v. A.O. Smith Water Products, et al. (No. 703/2015). The jury awarded Mr. Shays’ estate $3.2 million for past “pain and suffering including the loss of the pleasures of life.” They found Jenkins 50% liable and that Jenkins acted with a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Fairbanks Co. was a trial defendant in the case as well, but resolved the claims against it directly after closing statements.
It is the first verdict directly against Jenkins Bros. in an asbestos-related case.
Scott Shays was a veteran of the US Navy and the Vermont National Guard. He served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait in 2005 and received an Army Commendation Medal. Mr. Shays was exposed to asbestos gaskets, packing, and external insulation used in connection with Jenkins valves as a Machinist Mate Fireman Apprentice on the USS Plymouth Rock, LSD 29, from April – December 1976. He was 17 years old at the time. Mr. Shays began experiencing symptoms of pleural mesothelioma at age 55. He died April 20, 2016 at age 57 after five surgical procedures, multiple hospital stays, chemotherapy, radiation, and two months of hospice care. He is survived by his mother, uncle, four children, and eleven grandchildren.
“Scott Shays suffered outrageous pain and mental anguish for more than 19 months before he lost his life at only 57 years old. There is no excuse for Jenkins Bros. reckless conduct. I’m so thankful that the jury held Jenkins Bros. accountable and delivered justice to the Shays family for their horrible loss,” said Brittany Russell, an associate attorney at Belluck & Fox, LLP who tried the case along with associate Rachel Lanier on behalf of the Shays family.
Partners Joe Belluck and Seth Dymond provided assistance to the trial team. “Our law firm, Belluck & Fox, LLP, is dedicated to representing mesothelioma victims across New York State and across the Country, ” Mr. Belluck said. “We are especially proud to represent veterans such as Scott Shays. He was an American hero and served his country honorably. ”
Asbestos is a mineral that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer which results from breathing in asbestos fibers that become lodged in the thin membrane that lines and encases the lungs.
At trial, lawyers from Belluck & Fox, LLP presented evidence from a series of experts regarding the use of asbestos in valves and gaskets, the causation of Mr. Stays’ mesothelioma, the state-of-the-art evidence relating to the dangers of asbestos, and testimony about the cancer’s impact on Mr. Shays.
Jenkins Bros was represented by Robert Baum and Kyle Reeves of McGivney & Kluger. Fairbanks Co. was represented by Janna Nuzum and Bruce Bennet, also of McGivney & Kluger.
Belluck & Fox, LLP was founded in 2002 and has been advocating for mesothelioma patients for over 12 years. The attorneys at Belluck & Fox, LLP help injured people recover damages resulting from asbestos, unsafe products, mesothelioma, toxic chemicals, construction accidents and serious injuries. Belluck & Fox, LLP is listed as one of America’s best law firms by U.S. News & World Report and a number of their attorneys appear in Best Lawyers magazine. Joseph Belluck has obtained an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell (the highest ethical rating for lawyers). Jordan Fox is one of the nation’s top mesothelioma lawyers in the United States and was named “2013 Plaintiff Lawyer of the Year” for the NY metro area by Best Lawyers. He has had two mesothelioma verdicts recognized as among The National Law Journals’ Largest Verdicts of the Year. Belluck & Fox, LLP has secured more than $600 million in claims for their clients.