Written By: Joe Lahav, Esquire,
Last modified: June 23, 2021

Filing a Mesothelioma Claim in Washington

The state of Washington ranks No. 9 in the nation for asbestos-related deaths. Washington’s history of shipbuilding, oil refining, paper milling and aluminum production exposed many workers to asbestos products.

Workers were exposed to asbestos in cities throughout the state, including Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, Tacoma, Everett and Bellevue. Veterans were exposed at military bases, including Naval Station Everett, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fairchild Air Force Base and Camp Murray. Those who develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses may be eligible to file a personal injury claim, and family members who lost a loved one may qualify to file a wrongful death claim.

The statute of limitations in Washington is three years from the date of diagnosis to file a personal injury claim and three years from the date of death for wrongful death claims. Make sure you find a Washington mesothelioma lawyer with the expertise to handle your claim.

You should not rely on any information herein to make a determination about your legal rights. Please speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to best understand your legal options.

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Asbestos Exposure in Washington

Washington residents have faced asbestos exposure in the environment and the workplace.

There are 34 naturally occurring asbestos deposits throughout the northern half of the state. Two asbestos mines operated in Washington, including an amphibole asbestos mine near Lyman in Skagit County and a mine near Alta Lake in Okanogan County. Asbestos in and around Swift Creek and the Sumas River in Whatcom County poses a threat during flooding events and droughts.

Workers were occupationally exposed to asbestos in Washington paper and pulp mills, aluminum mills, shipyards, oil refineries, power plants and asbestos mines. Asbestos miners faced dangerous levels of exposure, as did maintenance workers who handled asbestos parts while working in shipyards, mills, factories and plants. Many of them eventually developed illnesses, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

Industries in Washington Known for Asbestos Exposure

  • Mining
  • Metal manufacturing
  • Oil refining
  • Paper production
  • Power generation
  • Shipbuilding

Law Firms Practicing in Washington

Washington residents diagnosed with mesothelioma should consider a national mesothelioma law firm licensed to practice in Washington to handle their mesothelioma claim. Lawyers at national firms can practice throughout the U.S., including Washington, and they have the experience and reach to determine the best jurisdiction in which to file your claim.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Law Firms

  • Weitz & Luxenberg
  • Simmons Hanly Conroy
  • Cooney & Conway
  • Nemeroff Law
  • Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman

One of the benefits of working with members of a national mesothelioma law firm is their ability to travel to you. Many of these firms will pay for a representative to come to you to conduct interviews and record depositions. They understand their clients are facing a cancer diagnosis and can’t easily travel, so they make it convenient for you.

You should not rely on any information herein to make a determination about your legal rights. Please speak to an attorney licensed to practice law in your area to best understand your legal options.

Notable Asbestos Verdicts Awarded to Washington Workers

  • $81.5 Million in 2017: A Washington jury awarded $81.5 million to the surviving family of Jerry Coogan, who claimed he died of peritoneal mesothelioma following asbestos exposure he encountered while working as an excavator operating backhoes, cranes and other construction equipment. At the time, it was the largest asbestos verdict in Washington’s history. In 2020, a divided Washington state appeals court affirmed the verdict in part and reversed in part. The appeals court affirmed the defendants’ liability, but reversed an award for $30 million in noneconomic damages, saying it was excessive and required a new trial on damages. In November 2020, the defendants and plaintiffs continued to argue their stances through legal filings, including briefing the Washington Supreme Court on how the damages should be assessed.
  • $13.4 Million in 2020: A Washington state jury awarded $13.4 million to Raymond Budd, who claimed he developed mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos products while learning the drywall trade from his father and uncle. Budd claimed Kaiser Gypsum’s asbestos-containing joint compound, among other products, contributed to the development of his mesothelioma. It is the highest asbestos verdict recorded in King County, Washington. Budd reportedly settled with other defendants for approximately $75,000. Several months later, Judge John Ruhl denied Kaiser Gypsum’s appeal and other challenges to the verdict.
  • $4.25 Million in 2019: A Washington state jury awarded $4.25 million to Douglas Everson and his wife, Diane Attleson, who claimed Everson developed mesothelioma from asbestos exposure he encountered working as a marine electrician at the Lockheed shipyard on Harbor Island. The verdict included $1.5 million in noneconomic damages awarded to Everson and $2.75 million in loss of consortium damages awarded to Attleson.
  • $10.2 Million in 2009: A Washington state jury awarded $10.2 million to Henry and Geraldine Barabrin. They claimed Henry Barabrin developed mesothelioma from exposure to Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc.’s asbestos-containing dryer felts while working at the Crown Zellerbach Pulp and Paper Mill in Camas, Washington. The $10.2 million award was reduced by $836,114 to offset for settlements the Barabrins received. All parties appealed the ruling, and Barabrin died while the appeal was pending. His wife continued the claim. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit remanded the case for a retrial. The retrial commenced in 2018, during which a jury found in favor of Geraldine Barabrin and awarded her $1.05 million. Months later, a Washington federal judge denied the defendant’s challenges to the ruling.

While these verdicts represent what is possible in Washington courts, most asbestos lawsuits are resolved through mesothelioma settlements. For example, an asbestos-contaminated talc lawsuit filed by Wendi and Richard Hirshberg against Johnson & Johnson was settled for a private amount after opening statements in a King County Superior Court trial. Wendi Hirshberg, a former teacher, claimed she developed mesothelioma from using Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder.

Washington Asbestos Laws and Regulations

Washington uses a mix of state and federal asbestos laws to regulate asbestos and prevent exposure among residents.

Regulations Governing Asbestos in Washington

  • Washington Revised Code Section 49.26.010 – 49.26.901: Contains the Washington state Asbestos Act.
  • Washington Administrative Code Section 296-62-077: Defines what asbestos is and lists the recognized types.
  • Washington Administrative Code Section 296-65: Outlines the state’s regulations on asbestos removal and encapsulation.
  • Washington Administrative Code Section 296-155, Part S: Defines asbestos regulations for demolition projects

State Departments Overseeing Washington’s Asbestos Laws

  • Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
  • Washington State Department of Ecology

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries oversees training, licensing and certification of asbestos workers and contractors. Information on asbestos is provided to residents by the Washington State Department of Ecology, which also delegates regulation of asbestos exposure to the 12 air agencies in the state.

Washington Laws Affecting Asbestos Lawsuits

  • Revised Code of Washington 4.16.080: Defines the statutes of limitations for personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits in Washington.
  • Revised Code of Washington 4.22.005 to 925: Defines Washington’s negligence laws, including the definition of the state’s contributory fault.

A Washington mesothelioma lawyer can review your case and advise you on whether these laws have any effect on your claim.


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