Years ago, if you would have told Shawn Ondell that someday she would crusade for the rights of mesothelioma victims, she wouldn’t have believed it. But that would have been before her husband, Paul Ondell, died of mesothelioma at the age of 57.
Paul Ondell, a decorated Viet Nam vet, worked as a pipefitter at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard after returning from overseas. As a pipefitter, Paul worked with a variety of asbestos-containing products, including gaskets, packing, pumps, valves, pipe covering, pipe muds, and cloth.
Paul and Shawn looked forward to spending their retirement together. In fact, Paul was able to retire in his mid-fifties and thought he had many good years left to spend with his wife—years of leisure to explore and enjoy the life they had built together.
But Paul and his wife never got to live their dream. Just one month after his retirement, Paul was diagnosed of pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer of the lung lining caused by his many years of exposure to asbestos on the job.
Our attorneys represented Paul and Shawn Ondell in their asbestos case and were able to recover significant settlements from the companies responsible for Paul’s 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 her dreams for their golden years together, Shawn became an advocate for mesothelioma victims. She petitioned the Washington State Legislature to enact legislation that would protect mesothelioma victims. Although Shawn’s fight is not over, it’s a battle she’ll continue for Paul and for all the other mesothelioma victims and their families.