Eusebio Jacob never imagined his job as a journeyman electrician at Guam’s Navy Ship Repair Facility would result in cancer years after his employment.
Yet, Jacob is now filing suits against two manufacturers for his alleged exposure to asbestos at the shipyard, which he claims led to his mesothelioma diagnosis.
Unfortunately, Jacob’s story is far too familiar. Navy veterans and civilians who worked in Navy shipyards are some of the most at-risk groups for developing mesothelioma due to the extensive asbestos use in military ships and shipyards.
Little was done to protect shipyard workers from these hazards because asbestos companies put profits ahead of human health.
Victim Was an Electrician in Guam’s Navy Ship Facility
Jacob worked at Guam’s Navy Ship Repair Facility for over two decades, from 1962 to 1985. During that time, he was responsible for installing asbestos gaskets on a variety of military ships.
Jacob claims he worked with asbestos on the following vessels:
|Ship Name||Ship Type|
|USS Asheville||Patrol Gunboat|
|USS Banner||Environmental Research|
|USS Brister||Destroyer Escort|
|USS Grasp||Rescue & Salvage|
|USS Haverfield||Destroyer Escort|
All shipyard workers are at risk of asbestos exposure, as the material was used to insulate, soundproof, and fireproof Navy ships.
However, electricians are at an increased risk of asbestos exposure due to the nature of their work. Jacob says he was routinely exposed to large volumes of asbestos, including the dust and fibers that can be inhaled and cause mesothelioma.
Asbestos Companies Named in Alleged Negligence
Eusebio Jacob named two companies in his lawsuit: Plastics Engineering Company (PLENCO) and Rockwell.
PLENCO manufactured asbestos-containing thermostat molding, while Rockwell made numerous electrical components with asbestos, including circuit breakers, controllers, and switches.
Jacob’s lawsuit states that both companies “expressly and impliedly warranted that said asbestos products were of merchantable quality, properly designed, manufactured, and reasonably fit and suitable for ordinary use in ship construction, ship overhaul, and ship refitting industries.”
However, asbestos products are not fit or suitable for ordinary use. Asbestos is a highly hazardous material with irreversible and often deadly health impacts.
By the mid-1970s, scientists had revealed the dangers of asbestos, but companies like PLENCO and Rockwell ignored their warnings for the sake of profits.
Asbestos products explicitly marketed for ship construction, overhaul, and refitting were misleading. They provided consumers with a false sense of safety.
Jacob was diagnosed with mesothelioma, as well as other medical conditions, in August 2018.
Like many mesothelioma victims, Jacob’s cancer developed more than 30 years after his initial exposure to asbestos. This long latency period is why many retired veterans and civilians are only just being diagnosed with the decades after their exposure occurred.
Lawsuit Claiming Legal Compensation and Punitive Damages
Eusebio Jacob and his wife, Marta A. Jacob, brought forward their civil suit against the manufacturers in hopes of receiving compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages would help cover many expenses the Jacobs have experienced after the diagnosis.
These expenses include:
- Emotional hardships
- Loss of income
- Loss of consortium
- Medical costs
Meanwhile, punitive damages would punish the manufacturers and send a message that their negligence is not tolerated.
The Jacobs have requested a jury trial to hear their case.
Asbestos Exposure in Navy Shipyards Continues to Claim Victims
Unfortunately, Eusebio Jacob’s story is far from unique. All too often, asbestos-related diseases bring horrible consequences to innocent people and their families.
Navy shipyard work has already claimed many lives, and new victims get diagnosed with mesothelioma on an ongoing basis.
Despite the hazards of asbestos being well-documented and recognized, countless civilians and veterans were exposed to high volumes of the dangerous substance for months or even years.
While the Navy itself can’t be sued for this exposure, asbestos manufacturers can be held accountable for their reckless behavior.
If you are a former Navy shipyard worker or a U.S. military veteran who has developed mesothelioma, you have legal rights to compensation and support through VA benefits and private lawsuits. Contact the Mesothelioma Veterans Center to have your claim reviewed for free by one of our VA-Accredited claims agents.