A Pilot’s Plight from Aircraft to Asbestos Exposure
A highly skilled airline pilot for a major carrier, Timothy Vest received a terrifying shock in September 2009 when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the young age of 44. He and his wife Caroline have three young children together.
Mr. Vest’s love of flying began early, as did his exposure to asbestos. His father was a senior pilot and later an executive for World Airways. Young Tim often went with his father to the World Airways hanger at the Oakland Airport on the weekends so he could see the planes being repaired. The hangar, first opened in 1973, was one of the largest in the country at the time. Tim visited the hangar twice during its construction and was exposed to the asbestos-containing fireproofing being sprayed. During subsequent trips to the hangar after it opened, Mr. Vest breathed asbestos dust from the fireproofing in the hangar, from asbestos parts and expoxy on the planes, and from the asbestos drywall products used in the office spaces. Neither Vest knew they were being exposed to this invisible toxin.
Tim Vest got his pilot’s license when he turned 16. He flew for Emery Worldwide throughout the 1990s, during which he was awarded the Civilian Air Medal by President George H.W. Bush for his work supporting Operation Desert Storm. Tim also flew relief missions to Chernobyl and Darfur. In 2001, Tim began flying for JetBlue.
Three months after his mesothelioma diagnosis, Kazan Law filed suit on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Vest against the manufacturers of the asbestos products he was exposed to, as well as the property owner, tenant, and contractors at the hangar. [Timothy and Caroline Vest v. Allied Packing & Supply, Inc., et al. (2012) Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG09489518]
Kazan Law was able to defeat the defendants’ two attempts to remove the case to Federal Court in Philadelphia. The trial began on February 27, 2012 against Dowman Products, Inc., which manufactured the joint compound used to build and remodel the office spaces at the hangar. The case resolved the following week during jury selection.
The good news for Mr. Vest is that his mesothelioma was caught very early. After surgery and chemotherapy, his prognosis is much better than most patients. He is spending as much time as possible with his family and staying as healthy as he can.