An immigrant’s dream of having a better life in the US came to an awful end in 2016 when he died after a two year battle with pleural mesothelioma. Before Branko Srica died from mesothelioma, he gave testimony about being exposed to asbestos that happened over a decade when he removed and replaced asbestos tiles as part of his daily work as a building supervisor in Queens, New York. Though Srica passed away, his widow is continuing a legal right for financial justice against American Biltrite, the producer of the asbestos tiles.

Exposure to Asbestos from Floor Tiles

Per detailed testimony that Srica gave before he passed away from mesothelioma at 74, he had exposure to high quantities of asbestos when he was a supervisor for maintenance for 60 apartments from 1975 to 1986. At 29 in 1971, he was brought in as the superintendent of an apartment building in Rockaway NY, and he often needed to take out old tile and replace it with new ones. He identified the sort of tile he was working with, delving into a high level of detail about the physical characteristics of the tile as well as the packaging. (

In his testimony, he talked about his work process and the amount of dust that was produced during the course of each tile project. His testimony was added to by his widow, who often was present when he was doing the tile work. She remembered many details about the packaging of the asbestos-laden tiles, as well as the brand names and the fact that each box identified the tiles inside as asbestos.

Asbestos Company Tried to Skirt Liability and Failed

Biltrite filed a motion for summary judgment to have the asbestos lawsuit against them dismissed, the judge in the New York City Asbestos Litigation court denied the motion. He indicated that Mr. Srica and his wife had offered ample evidence and factual testimony that proved a degree of liability by the company. He therefor said the case could not therefore be dismissed. Rather, the wrongful death lawsuit will now be heard by a jury, which will determine the level of liability of American Biltrite has for the man’s illness and early death.

Overview of Mesothelioma Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death lawsuit for mesothelioma allows surviving family members to recover money for the damages suffered from the loss of the one they love. Wrongful death claims normally are made by members of the family who were killed by the actions of other people or entities. As asbestos companies knew of the harm asbestos can cause, a diagnosis of mesothelioma can be attributed to negligence of intentional harm via a wrongful death claim.

Major features of a wrongful death claim for mesothelioma

  • Known points of exposure: Determining when the exposure to asbestos occurred is vital to filing a wrongful death claim. A skilled mesothelioma attorney will use many research resources to determine when and how exposure to asbestos happened.
  • Clear negligence: Asbestos companies knew of the danger of asbestos. Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed whenever a death may be attributed to an entity or person.
  • Major impact: Loved ones of the deceased family member need to show the death of their loved one had a major, negative effect on them. This effect can be financial, emotional or both.

Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos, which many asbestos companies have known for decades. Despite knowing this, thousands of workers were exposed unnecessarily to asbestos on the job or via exposure to someone else who was exposed. This resulted in many diagnoses of asbestos cancer in the last 30 years.

A wrongful death lawsuit allows the loved ones for the deceased to obtain compensation for the death of their loved one. Compensation often includes funds for lost wages, funeral costs, medical costs, and pain and suffering.

Who can sue for wrongful death

A wrongful death lawsuit normally is filed by survivors of the worker who died from mesothelioma. In some states, other parties also can file such actions. This is due to the fact that laws stating who can file these lawsuits vary from state to state. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can assist you in determining if you are eligible to file in your state. Potential parties who may be able to file are:

  • Immediate members of the family: In all US states, immediate family members such as spouses and children can file.
  • Life partners: In some states, life partners and those financially dependent on the deceased can file.
  • Anyone who is suffering financially: Some states allow those who were financially affected to file the claim – even if they are not family.

Mesothelioma wrongful death claim process

The process for a wrongful death action varies somewhat by state, but the general procedure includes phases of research, discovery and trial. Steps usually include:

  • Research: Attorneys perform detailed research and interviews with the client and people close to the client, such as co-workers, to determine if a wrongful death action is possible.
  • Filing: Claims could be filed in the state where the asbestos exposure happened, where the main office for the company is located, or in the state that offers the best option for high compensation.
  • Discovery: Attorneys will look closely at the deceased’s work and personal history to build a strong wrongful death case and will find all available evidence. Experts in the asbestos and/or construction industry may be deposed.
  • Trial or settlement: A wrongful death lawsuit can result in a settlement – most common – or a trial. Trials can take years and settlements can be recovered often in weeks or months.

If you have any questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit for a mesothelioma victim in your family, please speak with a qualified attorney in your state.


  • Immigrant’s Dream of Better Life Ended By Malignant Mesothelioma. (2019). Retrieved from