Volkswagen has been ordered to pay $5.75 million in damages to the family of a Washington auto mechanic who died from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure in the workplace. The lawsuit, filed by former mechanic Thomas Sorrentino, alleged that Volkswagen failed to issue warnings that the company’s brakes and clutches contained asbestos, which could cause mechanics who worked with these parts to develop mesothelioma or other asbestos diseases.
According to the lawsuit, Sorrentino worked as a mechanic at a Volkswagen dealership in Spokane, Washington between 1972 and 1975. As part of his job, Sorrentino worked to replace brakes and clutches that contained asbestos on Volkswagen vehicles.
Sorrentino performed several tasks while working with these asbestos brakes and clutches that resulted in his exposure to airborne asbestos particles. In order to arc the vehicles’ brakes to fit into the drum, Sorrentino used an Ammco grinding machine that threw asbestos dust from the brakes into the air. Sorrentino also used an air compressor to clean the brakes that released asbestos dust into the air.
In 2020, about 45 years after he stopped working at the Volkswagen dealership, Sorrentino was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. Shortly after giving his deposition in 2021 for the lawsuit his family filed against Volkswagen, Sorrentino passed away from his illness.
Mesothelioma Lawsuit Against Volkswagen
Sorrentino’s lawsuit was filed against Volkswagen’s parent company in Germany and its American subsidiary, Volkswagen Group of America. The lawsuit alleged that Volkswagen failed to properly warn Sorrentino about the risk of asbestos exposure and mesothelioma cancer that he faced from working with the company’s asbestos brakes and clutches.
Sorrentino alleged in his lawsuit that at the time he was working at the Volkswagen dealership, the automaker conducted asbestos tests at its manufacturing plants in Germany. The company also provided workers there with protective equipment to protect them from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
However, Volkswagen failed to provide American auto mechanics like Sorrentino with similar protective equipment, despite the fact that the dangers of asbestos exposure were known at the time. The company also failed to place warnings about the dangers of asbestos on its replacement brakes or brake boxes during the period that Sorrentino worked at the Volkswagen dealership.
Following a trial, the jury in King County, Washington that heard Sorrentino’s case awarded $5.75 million in total damages to his family. The verdict included $5 million in damages awarded to Sorrentino’s estate, and $750,000 in damages awarded to his son.
Start Your Claim Today
If you or a loved one worked with or were exposed to asbestos and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis, or other asbestos-related diseases, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation.
To start the process of filing your claim today, contact the law firm of Hissey Mulderig & Friend by calling our offices toll-free at 1-866-806-8117, or by sending us a message using our free claims form located at the top of this page.