Locating The Ultimate “Deceased” Witness

Client:  Automotive Asbestos Defense Counsel

An automobile repair hobbyist claimed automotive asbestos exposure. Our investigation revealed the Plaintiff and his co-workers were transporting and using large asbestos insulation blankets during the fabrication  of various ships including Polaris submarines in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. These asbestos blankets were used to help heat the hull plates prior to welding and to protect the temporary electrical wiring from hot welding debris. The Plaintiff did not wear a mask or coveralls and was taking asbestos home with him every night.

In his sworn deposition, the Plaintiff testified he had been married four times during the last 30 years, stating that his first three wives were deceased. Questioning this statistical improbability, our initial investigation was to obtain death certificates and autopsy reports for all three of the deceased wives.

When we were unable to locate a death certificate for one of the women in question, we initiated a search for a living person instead. We subsequently located and interviewed the woman in question, obtaining substantive information that was highly prejudicial to the Plaintiff’s case.

The Plaintiff’s “deceased” wife presented us with identifying information that ultimately provided witnesses to Plaintiff’s shipyard asbestos exposure.  Our client prevailed.