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April 1, 2020

Years ago, if you had told Shawn Ondell that she would become a crusader for the rights of mesothelioma victims, she wouldn’t have believed it. But that would have been before her husband Paul died of mesothelioma at age 57.

Paul, a decorated Vietnam vet, worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard after returning home. As a pipefitter, Paul worked with a variety of asbestos-containing products, including gaskets, packing, pumps, valves, pipe covering, pipe muds, and cloth. The job paid well; well enough that Paul was able to retire in his mid-50s, looking forward to spending many years of leisure with his wife and enjoying the life they’d built together.

But just one month after his retirement, Paul was diagnosed of pleural mesothelioma. He died shortly after.

Our attorneys represented Paul and Shawn Ondell in their case and recovered significant settlements from the companies responsible for his cancer. But Shawn, who had also worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, wasn’t only interested in justice for Paul – she wanted to make things better for other victims of mesothelioma.

After losing her husband and the time they had wanted together, Shawn became an advocate. She petitioned the Washington State Legislature to enact laws that would protect mesothelioma victims. Although Shawn’s fight is not over, it’s a battle she’ll continue for Paul and all other mesothelioma victims and their families.

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