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$1.42 Million Awarded to Family of 65-Year Old Former Navy Veteran

William Voelker

$1.42 Million Awarded to Family of 65-Year Old Former Navy Veteran

William Voelker

Asbestos cancer litigation law firm Worthington & Caron, P.C. today announced a verdict in favor of their client, Janet Voelker in the case of her 65-year-old former Navy firefighter and boiler tender who died of mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos.

John Crane Inc. will have to pay $1.42 million to the family of a U.S. Navy veteran who died from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. A jury in New York awarded the wrongful death verdict after finding that John Crane exposed the veteran to products that contained asbestos.

The case was first filed in Erie City, New York in September of 2013 but unfortunately, Willliam Voelker passed away soon after in December. After his passing, his wife Janet filed a wrongful death action in Erie City.

Prior to his death, William testified that while in the Navy from 1967 to 1971 he was exposed to John-Crane gaskets and packing material.

The original case (Erie County case # 801886/2013) was filed by Worthington & Caron and co-counsel Simon, Greenstone, Panatier & Bartlett (SGPB). Over 50 defendants were named in the case. Settlements were reached with a number of defendants prior to trial.

At the trial, the Voelker family was represented by lead trial attorney Jay Stuemke of SGPB and attorney John Comerford of Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, in Buffalo.

John-Crane, the sole remaining defendant at trial, attempted to argue that Mr. Voelker's exposure to their products did not cause his mesothelioma but was a result of his exposure from other companies. The plaintiff’s attorney was able to present evidence showing John Crane knew about the dangers of asbestos as early as the 1940s, yet they not only continued using it, but also deliberately concealed those dangers.

The jury ultimately assessed blame on John-Crane for its role in exposing Mr. Voelker to its dangerous products.

Prior to his diagnosis, William Voelker was an very happy and engaging man. His positive attitude and laugh were addicting. He and Janet were very active in their church, hosting a weekly Conversation Caffé where church members meet and talk about their faith and life. He also delivered 100 lunches to the poor and homeless once every other month.

He passed away while sitting in his easy chair on Christmas morning watching his grandchildren open their Christmas presents. He was not afraid, stating just a few weeks before how curious he was "to see what was on the other side."

We wish all the best to the Voelker family and are proud to have represented them and assisted them through this troubling time.