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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 USS Independence, USS Truckee and USS 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 doctors 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 19 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.

Learn More About Filing a Mesothelioma Lawsuit

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

Filing a mesothelioma lawsuit can help you cover medical expenses and secure your family’s future well-being for years to come. Our mesothelioma lawyers will make the process as easy as possible for you and guide you through the legal system. Learn more about what to expect when filing a mesothelioma lawsuit by downloading our free introductory guide.

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Simmons Support Team
Simmons Hanly ConroyWritten by:

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The Simmons Hanly Conroy Editorial Team consists of journalists, writers and editors who strive to deliver accurate and useful information to families needing legal help. Our team works alongside the firm's attorneys and partners, as well as with medical professionals and other specialists, to keep all information relevant and helpful.