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Halliburton asbestos settlement hits home

Matthew Bergman has been an environmental attorney for the last 15 years and, in his mind, one victory will always stand above the rest. In July 2004, two-and-a-half years of work paid off when the Texas-based Halliburton Co. agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement on behalf of a subsidiary company’s liability for asbestos-related illnesses and deaths.

The agreement was official on Dec. 31, 2004, and the first payment was due to victims 105 days later, Bergman said.

“Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Halliburton acquired during Vice President Dick Cheney’s chairmanship of the firm, distributed asbestos products to shipyards, power plants and industrial facilities,” according to a statement from Bergman’s law firm, the Vashon-based Bergman and Frockt. “While Dresser officials knew their products were harmful to workers in the 1930s, they continued to distribute the products through the mid-1970s.”

It was announced on Thursday in Seattle that 120 local families will receive compensation for family member’s deaths. About 60 percent of those families had loved ones who worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or who worked on steam-powered U.S. Navy ships, Bergman said.

One of the local families who will receive part of the settlement, Charisse Dahlke of Port Orchard, lost her husband Dale three years ago. Dale was 54 when he died and had been an electrician at PSNS for 25 years.

“Dale worked hard to serve his country

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