42 Years - A Professional Law Corporation - Helping Asbestos Victims Since 1974

Timothy Vest

Lifelong Pilot and Asbestos Cancer Victim Gives Justice Back to the Community

When families come to us at Kazan Law, they are facing one of the most challenging times in their lives and we are always greatly honored to get to know and help them. It is extremely gratifying when we see them take the justice we’ve obtained on their behalf and give back to the community in ways that help other cancer victims.

In this video, Kazan Law partner Justin Bosl shares the story of our client, Timothy Vest, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at the young age of 44. A pilot at heart, Mr. Vest had been hanging around hangars and airplanes long before he earned his pilot license at age 16 and went on to become a commercial airline pilot. Unfortunately, there was asbestos in the airplane parts and airplane hangar that he played in as a child and the exposure over the years increased his risk of developing cancer.

We were able to successfully resolve his case, which saved Mr. Vest and his family from the emotional toll of a trial. Thankfully, Mr. Vest was diagnosed at a very early stage and was able to be treated with surgery.  The tumor has been removed and the cancer has not recurred.

Mr. Vest has made a personal commitment to fight back by taking action to help others in need by forming the Timmy Challenge Foundation, whose mission is providing financial and emotional support to families affected by tragedy.

Victory for Asbestos Victims: MDL Remands Plaintiffs’ Case to State Court

In a significant victory for asbestos victims, including Timothy and Caroline Vest, Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, Jr. of the Asbestos MDL Court in Philadelphia granted plaintiffs’ motion to remand on May 26, 2011 and ordered that the Vests’ asbestos personal-injury case be immediately transferred back to Alameda County Superior Court where it rightfully belongs.

Sign of Change for Asbestos Law

The Asbestos Multi-District Litigation (MDL) court was established in 1991 as the home for all asbestos lawsuits in federal court throughout the county. It currently consists of 60,000 cases and 3,500,000 claims. Due to the extremely high volume of cases pending before this court, it is not uncommon for cases to be remanded to state court or the local federal district for trial only after several years have elapsed. The speed with which Judge Robreno dealt with this issue is a sign of change that will benefit many other asbestos victims.

Plaintiff’s Asbestos Exposure

Timothy Vest, an airline pilot, suffers from malignant mesothelioma, a disease caused by breathing asbestos dust. He was exposed to the asbestos as a child while visiting his father, an airline pilot, at an airplane maintenance hangar, and later while around airplane maintenance after becoming an airline pilot himself.

On January 6, 2011, a mere 39 days before trial was to start, defendant McDonnell Douglas Corporation removed the Vests’ case to federal court because McDonnell Douglas claimed that while it was aware of Timothy’s claim to have been exposed to asbestos from civilian planes McDonnell Douglas manufactured, it did not know until December 2010 of Timothy’s claim that he was exposed to asbestos from McDonnell Douglas’s military aircraft. In effect, McDonnell Douglas’s removal stayed the case for more than four months and caused significant hardship to the Vest family.

The Judge’s Decision

But then Judge Robreno, in a very well-reasoned memorandum opinion, finally shed light on McDonnell Douglas’s dilatory tactics by finding that its removal was far too late. Judge Robreno held that McDonnell Douglas’s basis for removal was first triggered on August 19, 2010 – 140 days before removal – when Timothy Vest’s father testified about work done on McDonnell Douglas’s military aircraft in the same hangar where Timothy Vest was exposed to asbestos. Federal law only allows 30 days to remove once a defendant learns of a reason to do so. Plaintiffs praise Judge Robreno’s decision and how his very thorough scrutiny of the evidence before him lead to the correct conclusion that McDonnell Douglas’s reason for removal was meritless.

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