Seattle Resident Awarded $1.45 Million in Mesothelioma Case

The Seattle Times recently reported that Vashon Island citizen Roger Hammett was awarded $1.45 million by the King County Superior Court. According to the news source, Hammett, 84, was diagnosed with mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure he received “aboard a ship he worked on in 1966.” The article reports that Hammett “served as a crewman for 67 days aboard the SS Seattle, a ship owned by what was then Sea-Land Service and is now Residual Holdings.” A news release announcing Hammett’s reward and quoted within the Seattle Times article stated that Hammett’s exposure stemmed from “asbestos fibers from pipe insulation that was being stripped from steam pipes during the voyage.” This was not the only time the Hammett worked aboard such a ship, as he also worked on Washington State Ferries for 28 years where he was also exposed to asbestos. The terms of the settlement concerning the ferries, occurring between Hammett and the state, have “remained confidential” and the other shipping companies were dismissed from the suit because of jurisdictional issues, as noted by the Seattle Times. At the time of diagnosis, patients with mesothelioma are typically diagnosed within the later stages of cancer , as this disease is normally associated with long latency periods (usually anywhere from 20-50 years) in which the cancer lies dormant in the body. When symptoms do begin to present they generally mimic those of other illnesses such as the flu, causing the correct diagnosis of mesothelioma to go unnoticed at first. In the later stages of this type of cancer, palliative, rather than curative treatments and therapies are often recommended. Most health professionals associated with mesothelioma patients are concerned with making the patient comfortable and offering them quality-of-life health options. The Seattle Times stated that Hammett and his wife, Anita, filed their suit against Residual Holdings, Washington State Ferries, and several other shipping companies in March of this year. As noted earlier, some of the shipping companies were dismissed because of jurisdictional issues. The article states that “in making the award, the jury assigned 70 percent of the fault to Residual Holdings/Sea-Land and 30 percent to Washington State.” Hammett was first diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2010. According to the news source he is now in the terminal stages of cancer. Seattle Times Staff Writer. (December 19, 2011). “Local News: Around the Northwest.” Retrieved on December 19, 2011 from The Seattle Times. Previous: Arguments Over Asbestos Ban In Canada Continue Next: Australian Actor Harold Hopkins Dies from Mesothelioma