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Jury Awards $2.6 Million in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

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The wife of a former Navy firefighter who died of mesothelioma has been awarded nearly .6 million after a two-month trial concluded last week.

David Fortier, a former Connecticut resident, served in the U.S. Navy from 1969 to 1972, a majority of that time as a fireman on the USS Forrestal aircraft carrier. His service began two years after a devastating fire broke out aboard the ship, killing 134 sailors and injuring 161 others. The USS Forrestal was constructed at Newport News Shipbuilding, a shipyard known to have used asbestos-contaminated materials in the creation of ships and vessels in Virginia.

On the ship, Fortier worked on pumps and other equipment manufactured by Allis-Chalmers, which were heavily insulated with asbestos. Allis-Chalmers was formerly one of the worlds largest manufacturers of farm and other heavy equipment. Now headquartered in Texas, it concentrates on oil field services.

Judge David Tobin and a six-person jury deliberated less than a day and a half before ordering Allis-Chalmers Corp. to pay ,595,000 to Gail Fortier of Port Orange, Fla. The lawsuit was the first asbestos-related case to go to verdict in Connecticut in 20 years.