At Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, we represent a wide range of clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. From coast to coast across America, it has been our greatest honor to work hard for those individuals who were unknowingly exposed to asbestos either directly on the job or through second-hand exposure. They are from all walks of life and have worked in a large cross-section of occupations. They are veterans, miners, shipyard workers, plumbers, boiler tenders, insulators, and carpenters. They are members of a loving family - fathers, mothers, grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles. They are trusted friends.
As you read through these client profiles, you will be touched by the common thread that runs throughout each one. They are stories of courage, strength, and perseverance in the struggle with mesothelioma. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to serve these clients by bringing suit against the manufacturers of the asbestos products responsible for their mesothelioma disease. In that way, we were able to provide both them and their loved ones with peace of mind and financial security. We hope that the stories of our clients provide inspiration and hope to you and your family as well.
Heather Von St. James is a wife to Cameron and mom to Lily Rose. Diagnosed with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma at the young age of 36, just 3 1/2 months after the birth of her one and only child, Heather Von St. James is now an 11-year survivor of the disease. She spends her spare time volunteering at her daughter's school, spending time with friends and family and living life to the fullest. Her favorite quote is, "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." This is how she lives her life. Her goal is to bring about hope to mesothelioma patients and awareness regarding the disease. Read more about Heather’s story of hope, inspiration and survival... Read more.
As a young child, Robin Benoit was exposed to asbestos fibers. Robin Benoit was born in Laredo, Texas, on November 11, 1959. Her father, William Shoup, was a flight instructor and electronics technician in the United States Air Force; her mother worked as a secretary on the military base. After her father was honorably discharged in 1962, he began working as an "oiler" at Central Power & Light Company ("CP&L"). As an oiler, he would check meters/gauges on the turbines throughout the plant. He frequently worked asbestos-covered steam pipes, recalling the asbestos block and insulation covering the pipes. At the end of each work day, William's clothing was marred with asbestos dust from a long, hard day. Anxious to return to his family at home, William rushed home after work. He did not change out of his work clothing nor shower prior to coming home. Once at home, William would spend time playing with his children, unknowingly transferring the asbestos dust on his clothing to his children... Read more.
Bernie Chavers is diagnosed with mesothelioma; he questions, "How long am I going to live?" Bernie Edward Chavers was born on July 4, 1941, in Belvedere Township, California. Bernie attended Gravois Elementary School & All Saints Catholic School, Los Angeles, California. He went to high school at San Gabriel Mission High School, San Gabriel Mission, California. After completing the 10th grade, in 1957, Bernie joined the United States Navy. He was only 16 years old. Bernie was exposed to asbestos while serving aboard the U.S.S Hancock (CVA-19)... Read more.
Jack Hansen to regains his independence after mesothelioma wracks his body. Alfred Hansen Jr. was the only child born to Amelia and Alfred Sr. on March 14th 1932 in New Haven, CT. Jack, as he was known to his friends and family, grew up in Hamden, CT where he went to Hamden High School and he worked part time during the summer guarding at Double Beach in Branford, CT. Alfred Sr. supported his family as an asbestos insulator. Though he was cautious, he unintentionally brought home asbestos dust every day from work, exposing young Jack to the hazards of asbestos since birth. When Jack was older he would spend time with his dad helping him work at the New Haven Railroad roundhouse and at the Electric Boat on the new construction of the Nautilus. Little did Jack know how hazardous his secondary asbestos exposure would be to his health... Read more.
John Little battled to rebuild his life after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, John worked in the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. While docked for overhaul, John repaired the Naval cruiser, U.S.S Richmond (CL-9). The U.S.S. Richmond was a battle submarine that required extensive repair work, including removing and repairing pipes, steam lines and insulation. While laggers removed insulation from the pipes, John recalled a "vast amount of dust." Although he did not know it at the time, the the dust was harmful asbestos fibers. Throughout the overhaul, John was stationed on board, exposing him to vast amounts of asbestos dust. John was transferred to the U.S.S Holland (SS-1), a submarine tender, and then to the U.S.S. Sailfish. John continued working on many ships... Read more.
True Grit: A Veteran of the U.S. Navy and the NYPD Faces His Greatest Battle. As a reservist, Walter attended boot camp at Great Lakes, Chicago, Ill. His first assignment sent him back home, to the Brooklyn Naval Yard. He was then reassigned to Newport, RI, where he was stationed aboard the USS Dashiel (DD659) as a Machinist Striker. Ship's ranking determined who worked below deck; Walter explained "when you don't have rank (you) work below in either the boiler room or the engine room." As the 'new kid,' he spent most of his time in both, ensuring that the temperature gauges were not "out of whack." The boiler and engine rooms were not pleasant places to work; they were cramped, dirty and filled with asbestos dust. Walter described that "no matter what you did you were engulfed in this [asbestos] dust." Walter did not know that this "dust" he was being exposed to while working amongst the pipe coverings, gaskets and packing aboard the Dashiel could eventually cause mesothelioma - a deadly asbestos-related disease. Eventually Walter 'made rank' when working aboard the USS Norris (DD859), but the damage to his lungs had already been done. Walter had spent too many months below the deck of the Dashiel exposed to asbestos... Read more.
A University of Alabama sports announcer diagnosed with mesothelioma vows, "I won't let this get the best of me!" In Fall, 1997, while at a UA football game, Roy noticed that he was too tired to enjoy the first quarter. He was having difficulty breathing and he could not make it up the bleachers without becoming winded. After x-rays revealed fluid in Roy's lungs, his doctors later recommended that he see a pulmonary specialist. Doctors at Carroway Methodist Medical Center recommend Roy undergo a thoractomy to drain the fluid from his lungs. The experience was extremely painful to Roy and, although it alleviate some pain and pressure in his lungs, the fluid soon filled his lungs again. After a second draining, his doctors suspected that Roy may have mesothelioma. Roy underwent a biopsy in February 1998 to confirm their suspicions. The biopsy verified Roy had malignant mesothelioma... Read more.
David Reeis came to America in the 1960's seeking the "American Dream." Born in Poland in September 1946, one year after World War II ended, David's life was full of hope and expectation. The creation of Israel in 1948 offered David's family a life free from discrimination and prejudice. At 10, David and his family moved to Israel. While there, he attended business and architecture trade school. He graduated in 1963. Like many Jewish youths, David learned English and served two years in the Israeli Army (1964-1966) as a member of a tank crew. After his service, David worked as an electrician/maintenance man for a small outfit in Israel. In 1966, David immigrated to Miami, Florida. Within a few weeks, though, he moved to California where a friend found him a job as an insulator. He soon worked at Northridge College, Northridge, CA, insulating hot water pipes and steam pipes in the boiler room. Though the trade was new to David, his employee noticed his strong work ethic. He quickly became a "lead" insulator and had his own assistant. David often worked long days, frequently eight to ten hour days, insulating asbestos piping with asbestos cement, block and insulation. David did not know asbestos could potentially cause mesothelioma... Read more.
Together, Dr. Michael Geraldi and his wife, Camille, created the Possible Dream Foundation. Camille Geraldi met Dr. Michael Geraldi, a pediatrician in Room 238 at Miami Children's Hospital, examining a terminally ill infant as Camille cradled the baby in her arms. Camille had known since her own childhood that she wanted to care for sick and unwanted children. She and Michael shared that passion. A few years later they were married and over the next forty years, the couple dedicated their lives to raising not only their two natural daughters, but more than 80 other children diagnosed with everything from Down’s Syndrome to spina bifida, and a host of special needs. Many of the children were abandoned by their own natural parents, but Camille and Michael took them in, adopting or becoming legal guardians for them all... Read more.