The estate of a woman who died of mesothelioma was awarded $3.5 million by a King County jury on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015. The woman, Barbara Brandes, died of “take-home” asbestos contamination on April 19, 2015, two days before the verdict. Her husband, Raymond Brandes, who died in January, worked at the ARCO Cherry Point refinery and was exposed to the asbestos at the Whatcom County refinery.
Raymond Brandes died of several illnesses including asbestosis. Their daughter, Ramona Brandes remembers how her mother would shake chunks of the dusty debris from the refinery from her father’s clothing each day after work. Raymond Brandes ultimately passed away from a non malignant asbestos-caused condition.
Barbara Brandes died on April 19th after being diagnosed with mesothelioma just last summer. She passed away the day before her lawsuit against Brand Insulations reached closing arguments. The lawsuit settlement payment was awarded after the company was found to be liable of negligence.
Seattle attorney, Matthew Bergman, represented Barbara Brandes. The trial lasted two weeks and still has some time before it is wrapped up. A review of the verdict and other issues surrounding the case, by the presiding King County Superior Court Judge, is scheduled for June 5th .
The award is the largest of all lawsuits in Washington state history that deal with “take-home” asbestos contamination. Raymond Brandes is said to have been unaware of the exposure to his wife and eight children. He had no idea that the contamination and toxins on his clothing could lead to asbestos related diseases.
According to his daughter, when he took the job at the refinery, they put in four showers for more than 200 workers. Employees would have to wait over 2 hours after their shift to take a shower and the company did not provide a laundry service. Raymond was unaware of this and, as a result, skipped his shower to come straight home many times.
Barbara Brandes began feeling ill in February of 2014. She was diagnosed with the disease four months later and was estimated to have one year left to live. The lawsuit was filed by both Barbara and Raymond Brandes in August. The defendants included ARCO, Brand Insulations, and five other companies. The couple cited negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, product liability, and conspiracy in their claim. the only company who refused to settle was Brand Insulations.