Albert Hassell grew up in Toledo, Ohio where he attended school and met his future bride, Sandra. Just before Albert departed for the U.S. Navy, Albert and Sandra were married in 1963. They enjoyed 40 years of marriage and had 2 children together, Lori Ann and James. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy in 1966, Albert began his own residential and commercial renovation business. After almost 30 years, Albert closed his renovation business and opened a home inspection business in 1997. By 2002, his home inspection business was moving into the black. As his business grew, Albert made plans to expand its operation, but in April of 2002 these dreams were shattered when he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Mr. Hassall was exposed to asbestos-containing products while serving in the United States Navy from 1964-1966 as a boiler tender aboard the USS Eaton. Albert was responsible for servicing all of the pumps aboard the ship. This included removing asbestos-containing insulation in order to repair or reassemble pumps, as well as removing gaskets from within the pumps on a monthly basis. Albert remembered breathing in a lot of dust created throughout these processes.
After receiving his honorable discharge, Albert worked in various power plants and refineries as an industrial worker (boiler tender, pile driver and carpenter) from 1966 – 1975 while he attempted to build his own residential and commercial renovation business. While working as a boiler tender, his duties ranged from minor repairs to major teardown and re-tubing, to removing the asbestos-containing insulation from the exterior of the boiler in confined and dusty conditions. He breathed a lot of asbestos while removing insulation from these boilers.
As his remodeling business was growing, by 1975 Albert was able to quit work as an industrial employee and focus on his own clientele. In the 20 plus years of his business, Albert removed insulation from boilers, applied asbestos-containing joint compound and applied dry wall, among other duties. He remodeled approximately ten to twelve homes per year from 1971-1975, thirty to forty homes per year from 1975-1977, and three to four hundred homes per year from 1978-1995.
Albert closed his renovation business in order to open a home inspection business in 1997. However, in 2002, as a result of his deteriorating medical condition, Albert and Sandra were forced to close their business, which had just started to turn a profit during the year before he contracted mesothelioma. Unable to meet mortgage payments, Albert sold his home in Toledo and, along with his spouse and his mother, moved into his daughter Lori’s house in Michigan. The Hassall’s liquidated their remaining assets in order to “come out of this debt-free and provide some money to live on for a short time.”
Albert and his spouse of 40 years, Sandra, brought suit in Brazoria County, Texas, against the product manufacturers, naval equipment manufacturers, and asbestos suppliers of the asbestos products and equipment to which Albert was exposed during his career. The case was successfully resolved in December 2003, only weeks before Albert lost his battle with mesothelioma.