Jim’s Story

Up until the mid-1970s, nearly every ship and shipyard built by the U.S. Navy was constructed with asbestos materials. It was primarily used in engine rooms, boiler rooms and other below-deck areas of seagoing vessels and submarines. Since asbestos exposure is the direct cause of mesothelioma, it’s no surprise that more than 30 percent of Americans afflicted with mesothelioma were first exposed to asbestos during their time in the U.S. Navy.

Unfortunately, Simmons Hanly Conroy client, Jim Gahan, was one of those Navy veterans.

Receiving a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

From 1973 to 1993, Jim worked as a Navy boiler technician aboard the U.S.S. Independence, U.S.S. Truckee and U.S.S. Vulcan. Jim had extensive expertise working in the ships’ engine and boiler rooms, making sure the ships functioned properly. Working near the ships’ boilers, valves, pumps, gaskets, packing, engines and other machinery exposed Jim to toxic asbestos fibers.

Years later, in 2009, Jim began experiencing respiratory problems. On a visit to a Houston hospital, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The doctor’s told Jim he only had a few months to live – his treatment options were limited because the disease was too far advanced.

Shocked by the doctor’s prognosis, Jim and his wife Peggy knew they needed to act fast. Medical bills began piling up, creating a growing financial burden for the family. Jim was not old enough to qualify for Medicare or Social Security, and he had not received disability. The couple needed help.

Seeking Justice Through a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Asbestos attorney Randy Cohn and his legal team created a tailored plan to guide Jim and Peggy through the mesothelioma lawsuit process. They worked with the family to ensure compensation that would ultimately provide them financial security and peace of mind.

Over the course of the lawsuit process, Jim’s family became part of the Simmons Hanly Conroy family. In fact, the Gahans have sent Randy’s children Christmas presents over the years.

“I think that takes the client-attorney relationship to another level,” Randy said. “Our firm and our lawyers, we’re more than just an attorney-client relationship. These people rely on us.”

Just nineteen months after his diagnosis, on Nov. 20, 2010, Jim passed away. Regardless of the cause of his death, Jim was proud to serve his country for all of those years. While he felt he should have been warned about the dangers of asbestos, he did not regret the time he spent in the Navy.

“Jim did not waste time feeling sorry for himself or being resentful about something he knew he could not change,” Randy said. “It was never a pity party for him.”

Simmons Hanly Conroy is honored to help veterans like Jim struggling to balance a mesothelioma diagnosis and difficult financial circumstances. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, we may be able to help. Learn more about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit with Simmons Hanly Conroy today.

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Learn more about filing a mesothelioma lawsuit

Download our guide:
Asbestos Litigation, Your Guide to the Legal Process.

While no amount of compensation can buy you a medical miracle, a lawsuit can help you afford the mesothelioma treatments you need and help eliminate the worry that medical costs are draining your family budget.

“Our ultimate goal as trial attorneys is the same goal of the doctors and nurses working inside the Simmons Cancer Institute. Prevent and alleviate the suffering of others. As a firm rooted in helping mesothelioma cancer victims, we are especially proud to be a sponsor of the institute.”

John Simmons - Simmons Hanly Conroy Chairman