Bev Carlson’s husband, Ronald, died of mesothelioma, a severe form of lung cancer only occurring following exposure to asbestos. But Ron didn’t work where you would expect him to be exposed to asbestos: he worked as an executive at United Airlines.
The building where Ronald worked underwent a major remodel while he worked there. Ronald helped oversee the renovation. It was well known the building had asbestos in it. During the construction, this asbestos became airborne and the workers breathed it in. There was poor ventilation, meaning the dust was recycled throughout the buildings. The workers in the United Airlines building would be greeted in the morning with a film of construction dust covering their desks. Additionally, the construction materials used contained asbestos.
When Bev filed for death benefits, United Airlines argued there was no asbestos, and even if there was, there were not enough of the right kinds of asbestos to cause mesothelioma. Team Hochberg investigated every aspect of the remodel at the United Airlines building, tracking down witnesses, finding records from the remodel and hiring the best experts, to prove her husband died from his asbestos exposure at United Airlines.
Through the lay witnesses, Team Hochberg established it was well known the United Airlines building had asbestos in it. Team Hochberg also discovered key evidence demonstrating a remodel in 2001 showed the presence of asbestos, which clearly would have been present in the 1970s. Also Team Hochberg successfully used an expert industrial hygienist and pathologist to establish the levels of asbestos to which Ronald was exposed at United Airlines was a lot of asbestos to be breathing over time and was sufficient to cause mesothelioma.
As a result, the Industrial Appeals Judge awarded benefits and Bev was placed on a widow’s pension.