Brooklyn, NY asked in Personal Injury and Gov & Administrative Law for Massachusetts

Q: I was involved in a prolonged period of exposure of Cellulube 220 onboard the USS Independence (CV-62), circa 1984.

I have become debilitatingly ill, e.g. demyelinating brain lesion, Arachnoiditis, etc, but my healthcare team and the VA do not see a causative link to my documented exposure.

1 Lawyer Answer
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY

A: Thank you for your service. I'm sorry to learn about your illness stemming from exposure to Cellulube. You would get the most meaningful guidance from a law firm that handles veteran's benefits, and I don't think there is a tab for that in the Find a Lawyer section here. You could conduct your own independent searches.

When you do contact an attorney, you might want to ask them about the relevance of a recent Supreme Court decision involving hazardous substance exposure on naval vessels. It might not necessarily be directly relevant, as it involved asbestos exposure and your matter deals with exposure to shipboard hydraulic fluids.

The name of the decision is Air and Liquid Systems Corp, et al, v. DeVries, Supreme Court of the United States, No. 17-1104, on Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, March 19, 2019. It involved sailors who were exposed to asbestos aboard the U.S.S. Wanamassa, U.S.S. Commodore, and U.S.S. Turner. They brought third party actions against the manufacturers of shipboard components that required asbestos packing.

The manufacturers argued that their components did not come with asbestos. But the Supreme Court held that a product manufacturer has a duty to warn when (i) its product requires incorporation of a part, (ii) the manufacturer knows or has reason to know that the integrated product is likely to be dangerous for its intended uses, and (iii) the manufacturer has no reason to believe that the product’s users will realize that danger.

Your attorney may or may not find the decision useful. Conceptually, it is not identical to your situation. But it is a very recent decision from the nation's highest court and if there are third party contractors or manufacturers involved, I hope it could be helpful to you if your attorney finds it relevant.

Good luck,

Tim Akpinar

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.