On Wednesday, March 7, 2018, after jury selection but prior to opening statement in a trial in Shasta County Superior Court, a local Redding family of a deceased retired career mechanic obtained a $630,000.00 settlement from their lawsuit against several manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos-containing products who contributed to causing the death from lung cancer of their elderly husband and father. The decedent had been a heavy smoker but had quit several decades before his lung cancer diagnosis. While the family accepted that the decedent (and Big Tobacco) was responsible for the cigarettes that he used having contributed to causing his lung cancer, the family brought the lawsuit seeking to force the entities who exposed him to asbestos dust to accept their portion of responsibility. While both using cigarettes and breathing asbestos dust separately carry a high risk of lung cancer, being exposed to both exponentially synergistically increases the risk.

Most new cars were manufactured with asbestos-containing brakes, clutches, and gaskets until 1987, and even today some replacement brakes still are made with asbestos. Therefore, especially when arcing, sanding, or grinding new brakes, or when blowing out brake drums with compressed air, mechanics are exposed to hazardous asbestos dust.

Joint compound used on walls, and supplied by local stores, contained asbestos until 1980. Therefore when a contractor or DIY homeowner mixed, sanded, or swept up the compound, the resulting dust contained hazardous asbestos.

Paper mills used asbestos dryer felts on the paper machines until 1981 and the associated steam lines were insulated with asbestos well in the 1990s.

James P. Nevin, Esq., partner with Brayton❖Purcell LLP, was trial counsel for the family, along with his associate Daniel Morse, Esq. “There have been many incidences of asbestos-related disease in the Redding area as a result of extensive use of asbestos in local mills, mechanic shops, and in construction products,” said Mr. Nevin. He also stated, “Only asbestos causes asbestosis and mesothelioma, and as this case demonstrates, with asbestos-caused lung cancer, even cigarette users can bring an asbestos lawsuit because of the synergistic impact of exposure to cigarettes and asbestos causing lung cancer.”