Reuben and Danny Arnold were a father and son team. All Danny’s life, the two were hunting buddies – setting off on weekends together in Washington’s beautiful wooded forests. When Danny finished school, the two men became workmates, as Danny went to work with his father. And when Reuben retired, he and Danny predictably remained very close.
What neither could have anticipated, however, was that soon after Reuben’s retirement, both father and son would die of the same asbestos-related cancer. Or that they both would develop mesothelioma at the very same time.
In 2008, Reuben Arnold was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a terminal cancer virtually always caused by exposure to asbestos. Just four months later, Danny was diagnosed with the same disease. Reuben died the year he was diagnosed at the age of 66.
The following year, in 2009, Danny Arnold also died of mesothelioma when he was just 49. From the time Reuben was diagnosed in 2008, Marjorie Arnold, Reuben’s wife of 48 years, spent her days and nights caring first for her husband and then both her husband and her son. She lost both to mesothelioma in the space of a year.
How the men came into contact with asbestos was, in hindsight, no mystery. Reuben Arnold had been an insulator with the Heat & Frost Insulators Union, Local No. 7, for many years. He had worked with asbestos insulation at many large industrial sites in the Northwest including: Boeing Aircraft facilities in Seattle, Renton and Everett; Centralia Steam Plant; Hooker Chemical in Tacoma; Carnation Dairy; Simpson Kraft Paper Mill (St. Regis Paper Mill or Champion Paper Mill) in Tacoma; Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill (NORPAC) in Longview; Longview Fibre Paper Mill; and the Shell and Texaco refineries in Anacortes.
Danny followed his father into the trade, joining Local No. 7 in the late 1970s. By that time, asbestos precautions in the trade were routine, and Danny always wore a respirator when working with asbestos. But it was already too late for Danny. He had been exposed for years to asbestos brought into the Arnold family home on Reuben’s work clothes. This “take home” exposure caused his mesothelioma.
Bergman Draper Oslund team represented both men in lawsuits filed against 32 defendants, many of whom have not traditionally been sued in asbestos litigation. Through the firm’s innovative and aggressive approach in the cases, the firm was able to obtain what is believed to be the largest settlement ever in an asbestos case in Washington. We are proud and pleased that we were able to help Mrs. Arnold achieve the financial security that Reuben and Danny wanted for her.