The amount of mesothelioma claims, a deadly human cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has surged in the wake of unprecedented growth in the oil and gas industry. While many individuals have been awarded compensation through lawsuits, there has been little closure for victims of this severe illness. One recent case was tried entirely without any scientific evidence showing how the illness was contracted by its victim.

Jessica Dean, a 58-year-old electrician from Nevada, has been awarded $15.6 million by a jury in a Mesothelioma case against his former employer and its insurer diagnosed with the disease in 2010.

Jessica Dean had experienced terrible coughing spells since 2005, but he did not learn that he had lung cancer until 2010 when he went for routine x-rays because of pain in his shoulder.

After being diagnosed with Stage IV mesothelioma, Mr. Branham Shirley filed a lawsuit against the company that hired him to work as an electrician on Navy ships from 1995 to 2000 – the Montheith Marine Construction Company Inc. and its insurer, Ohio Casualty, and the the the Surety Company, in 2014.

After the US district court jury found in favor of Mr. Branham Shirley, the defendant requested that the court impose a non-economic award be restricted to $750,000. The trial judge denied this request and stated that he couldn’t limit his discretion because Mr. Branham Shirley had already been awarded $15 million after finding that Montheith Marine Construction Company had been negligent. The judge also stated that the law allowed him to award up to an additional million dollars under certain circumstances.

According to the California Personal Injury Lawyers, this case is not a typical mesothelioma lawsuit that has been previously tried in court. The plaintiff, in this case, was diagnosed with mesothelioma, cancer caused by asbestos exposure and one of the most deadly industrial hazards, after a jury awarded him $15 million. This case shows that it is possible to be awarded compensation through mesothelioma litigation despite the lack of scientific evidence showing attribution to the disease.

How could he have gotten Mesothelioma?

Branham Shirley’s lawyer, Nicholas Poppe, said his client had no idea how his illness was contracted. He also cited evidence at the trial showing that he had never been injured by asbestos or worked with the notorious carcinogen. Nonetheless, the jury awarded Mr. Branham Shirley $15 million on top of two prior awards for pain, suffering, and loss of potential wages.