Henry Barabin worked as a laborer for 4 years at the Texaco Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, and for an additional 33 years at Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill in Camas, Washington. Both jobs exposed him unknowingly to asbestos, a mineral now known to be a factor in the development of mesothelioma, an illness which has no known cure, and can lay dormant and symptom-free in its victims for up to 50 years. Once it is diagnosed, however, patients generally have a life span of only 4-18 months. In 2006 Mr. Barabin was diagnosed with mesothelioma, 5 years after he left Crown Zellerbach, and 37 years after beginning employment with Texaco.
Both of Mr. Barabin’s jobs exposed him to asbestos during the normal everyday handling and disposal process of the dryer materials, as well as the periodic cleaning and maintenance operations involved. The lawsuit alleges that the company did not provide warnings about the dangers of handling asbestos-laden products and additionally, that it used defectively designed materials, which greatly increased worker’s exposure and therefore their risk. A jury awarded Henry and his wife $10.2 million.