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In the late 1960s and ‘70s, Arthur “Art” Putt worked as an auto mechanic at service stations in California and Indiana. He started out by pumping gas and then moved to doing work on the cars. Even though he later became a manager, he still worked on cars, mainly doing brake work.
Unfortunately, the brakes Art routinely serviced contained asbestos, a toxic material used in a variety of different industries and products. Decades later, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos — a danger he was never warned about.
By filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, he was able to work with our team to secure financial freedom for his wife and children — and become a celebrity around the firm in the process.
Almost 40 years ago, Art met his wife Janet “Jan” Putt in an Arizona mobile home park. She owned a home in the park, and Art arrived in an RV.
Since there weren’t many single people who ever came to the park, Jan was intrigued. The couple talked for the very first time in the pool and got married in Las Vegas shortly thereafter.
“During our very first conversation, a woman asked if we were married. I looked at her, grinned, and said, ‘No, not yet,’” Art explained. “Three months later, we were married — and that was 38 and a half years ago.”
Throughout their marriage, Art and Jan have done everything together, from remodeling their home to going on long drives. The couple even worked together as characters at Dollywood, dressed up in costumes.
They lived an idyllic life together until 2018 — when Art was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Since Jan and one of their daughters are registered nurses, the family immediately understood the grim nature of Art’s mesothelioma diagnosis. Given his background as an auto mechanic, there was also no surprise as to what caused it.
Back then, Art says they did the brake work the old-fashioned way — by grinding brakes with sandpaper which created a lot of asbestos dust. The mechanics also used air blowers on the worn brake drums, which blew a lot of dust into the air that they constantly breathed in.
Years later, Art developed a hacking cough and spit out mucus so frequently that he had to carry a cup with him. When it kept getting worse, Art agreed to see his doctor. In April 2018, his doctor did an X-Ray and thought it was pneumonia.
However, the radiologist didn’t agree and ordered more tests. A biopsy in June revealed that Art had developed mesothelioma.
While his mesothelioma diagnosis meant they can no longer do the things they once enjoyed, Art and Jan still manage to spend all of their time together. “24 hours a day is not enough for us to be together,” Art said before adding, “And it has been that way even before this happened. So, that’s just the way it was.”
These days, the couple goes grocery shopping and watches TV or browses the internet on their devices each night. Every evening at 7:15, they have an ice cream bar together — except Friday nights when their children come over and Art jokes that he doesn’t want to share it.
Art’s mesothelioma treatment began with chemotherapy that made him very sick. It also stopped working after a while, so he began immunotherapy. While he did far better with immunotherapy, that too stopped working.
In the beginning, he’d recover within a few days but soon he would be wiped out for all three weeks between treatments. With his treatments becoming ineffective, it became clear that the family would need to find new ways to help Art fight mesothelioma.
With two nurses in the family, they decided to research natural remedies. Art has been utilizing natural remedies since 2020 now.
He says that Jan feeds him a blend of asparagus, beetroot powder, cottage cheese and several oils through his stomach tube two times per day.
Since beginning the holistic treatment, Art reports feeling much better. Even though doctors told him he’d never eat solid food again, Art is back to eating solid foods for lunch and dinner.
“Initially they told him he probably had about six months to a year — that was four years ago. … He doesn’t look like somebody that’s been fighting cancer for four years.”
– Jan, Art’s Wife, in the Summer 2022
In addition to Jan’s immune-boosting remedy, Art says keeping a positive attitude has a lot to do with being able to slow the cancer’s progression. He uses acceptance as a way to stay positive.
Knowing that there is no cure, Art is able to focus on making the most of the time that he has. “We can’t change the outcome, but we’re enjoying the ride,” he said.
Appallingly, the link between asbestos exposure and illnesses was established in the early 1900s, but companies continued using the deadly material. Many asbestos companies chose not to warn their employees or consumers of the dangers of asbestos exposure, putting profits ahead of people.
When asked how he feels about this, Art says he is surprised. He wonders how human lives didn’t seem to mean anything to companies, like Ford Motor Company, that used asbestos in their products for years — all while knowing it would make people sick.
“I can’t think of the words to express the fact that I wish they were more sorry and more concerned about what was happening to people,” he said.
This desire to hold asbestos companies accountable is what led his family to consider filing a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Initially, Art didn’t want to hire a mesothelioma lawyer, but his family felt strongly about it. One of their daughters knew someone who had worked with Simmons Hanly Conroy and had a great experience.
After calling the firm, Shareholder John Richardson flew right out to meet Art and Jan in their home. According to Art, they liked John right off the bat.
“John kind of made us feel at ease, a little bit. He didn’t seem like a lawyer — or like what I would see on TV or something like that,” Art said, describing the visit. “He just seemed like he was interested and really cared.”
“Honestly, I see a little bit of my own family in almost every family I represent,” John explained. “I care about them as people, and I do my best to help them through this difficult time in their lives.”
As the family got to know John and their legal team, they liked them even more and felt comfortable telling the team everything.
“They treated us like human beings. Like we were friends,” Art said, adding that he believes his diagnosis would’ve been miserable without the help of John and the firm.
Additionally, the family was amazed to find out that a team of almost 10 attorneys were all working on their case — and each one of them appreciates hearing from Art and Jan to this day.
“Art and Jan are sort of celebrities around the firm as well,” John said. “They do a great job of keeping me in the loop in terms of how they’re doing, and I always share that with the other lawyers [who worked on the trial for the Putts’ case]. It makes their day and brings a smile to their faces.”
What has made all of the difference for the family is the money Simmons Hanly Conroy helped them recover — money they say that has made their lives infinitely better. Because of this mesothelioma compensation, they no longer have any financial worries.
In November of 2018, Art and Jan met the team at Simmons Hanly Conroy and had several meetings after that. Within 10 months, the case was successfully closed.
In fact, Art received several mesothelioma settlements before his lawsuit even went to trial in August of 2019.
The mesothelioma compensation the family received helped Art fight his disease. Because he didn’t have to stress over how he would pay for treatment, he was able to remain more positive.
Having this burden lifted helped him focus on enjoying the time he has left with Jan and his family.
With the money from their mesothelioma claim, Art and Jan have finally found financial freedom. They have enough money in their regular account to live off of for the rest of their lives. Knowing that Jan is well taken care of because of the results gives Art peace of mind.
“We gave all that money to our kids, paid all their debts off, paid our house off and made our life a little easier because we had no financial worries,” Art happily recounted. “We still don’t have any financial worries because of it. They don’t either.”
The family says they have the mesothelioma lawyers at Simmons Hanly Conroy to thank for this.
“What I tell people is that the financial freedom that came from filing a lawsuit was the one good thing that came out of something bad. It’s made the time I have left even better,” Art said. “And that’s about the best way I could say it.”
When asked what advice he would give to other families facing a mesothelioma diagnosis, Art says that it is most important to stay positive.
“I would tell people to make the best of it. You can’t change it. Make the best of it as you can,” Art said. “Get as close to the people in your family, and friends, as you can.”
Once the initial shock wore off, he was able to see how lucky he was to still have time with his beloved wife Jan. He has used his time to tell her how he feels about her and cherish every day with her.
“Being able to finish my life with her and tell my kids or other people what I thought of them and everything else that may have been unsaid was really important to me,” Art explained.
Keeping a positive attitude is what has given mesothelioma survivor Art the strength he needs to keep fighting.
Although his lawsuit is over, Art and Jan still maintain contact with the team at Simmons Hanly Conroy, which they enjoy. The feeling is mutual, with Shareholder John Richardson regularly keeping in contact with Art and his family.
“He’s family, as far as we’re concerned. There’s not enough time to talk about the difference that John made in our lives,” Art said. “They treated us like family and they cared about us like family. That’s the way we feel about it.”
As a national mesothelioma law firm, Simmons Hanly Conroy has been dedicated to helping families affected by asbestos exposure and mesothelioma seek justice and compensation since 1999.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, call (800) 326-8900 or get a free legal consultation today to learn more about how our team may be able to help you and your family.