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ASBESTOS NEWS DAILY - MESOTHELIOMA COURT VERDICTS
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Asbestos Mesothelioma Verdicts


 
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Jury Verdict – Asbestos Exposure – $2.99 Million Mesothelioma Award

Asbestos-Laden Parts Lead to $3 Million Jury Award

April 30, 2010 (TopWireNews.com: - Law, press release)

(Mesothelioma News) - Decades after a sailor’s exposure to asbestos and a year after hedied frommesothelioma, a jury in Newport News, Virginia., held a shipyard supplier accountable, hitting the company with a$2.99 million verdict on April 13.

The company’s asbestos-laden parts, the jury said, helped cause the plaintiff’s disease and, ultimately, his death.

RobertHardick, who was 69 when he died in March 2009, was a former U.S. Navy petty officer who had been exposed to asbestos while serving at a naval shipyard and while at sea, from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Mesothelioma, a cancer of the protective lining that covers many of the body’s organs, can take decades to develop. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by asbestos exposure. It is almost always fatal.

“His doctor talked vividly about his suffering,” said BobbyHatten, amesothelioma attorney with theNewport News firm of Patten,Wornom,Hatten &Diamondstein. “He was avery loved guy.”

Asbestos-a heat-resistant material used heavily on ships -is dangerous when airborne.Hardick, a father of four fromHopkinsville,Ky., had breathed in millions of invisible asbestos fibers at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. As ashipfitter,Hardick often took pumps and valves into a shop area, using brushes and hammers to remove asbestos sealants. In the process, asbestos particles became airborne andHardick breathed them in. Further asbestos exposure came whenHardick served aboard the cruiser USS Newport News.

Themesothelioma lawsuit was against the defendant, Illinois-based John Crane Inc., which had supplied the asbestos-laden parts to the Navy.

Crane’s liability represents half of a $5.98 million verdict returned by the jury. The remainder was apportioned to a codefendant in the case,Garlock Sealing Technologies of Palmyra, N.Y. ButGarlock had previously settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, leaving only Crane on the hook for its half.

Hardick, who became a successful businessman after leaving the Navy, is survived by his wife, Diane. In arriving at the nearly $6 million verdict, the jury awarded $2 million forHardick’s pain and suffering; $1.15 million for the loss suffered by his widow; $2.5 million for lost future income; and $327,000 in medical and funeral expenses.

This news was brought to you by themesothelioma attorneys at Cooney & Conway, a nationally recognized law firm that has brought recovery and justice to victims of asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases.

120 N LaSalle Street -Suite 3000Chicago,IL60602-2415
Toll Free: (888) 651-1850

http://www.cooneyconway.com

 
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Verdict – Asbestos Trades –Mesothelioma Lawsuit

 

October 21, 2009 12:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time  

 

Belluck & Fox Obtains $1.5 Million Mesothelioma VerdictAnd Punitive Damages Against Fisher Controls International

Instrument repairman RonaldDrabczyk repaired control valves manufactured by Fisher Controls International--a Division of Emerson Electric--that contained asbestos gaskets and packing.

MARSHALLTOWN,Iowa &ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The New York law firm ofBelluck & Fox has obtained a$1.5 million verdict and punitive damages of $750,000 against Fisher Controls International following the death of a worker at Hooker Chemical inBuffalo,New York, who was exposed to asbestos on the job.

“The jury's verdict confirms that this corporation acted in a negligent and reckless manner in selling its valves without ever warning of the dangers associated with the asbestos-containing products used in these valves”

 

Theverdicts in Estate of RonaldDrabczyk, Index No. I 2005/1583, were rendered on October 19 and 20 in Erie County Court inBuffalo,New York.Judge John Lane presided.

Fisher Controls, based inMarshalltown,Iowa, is a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co., based inSt. Louis,MO. Emerson is a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EMR.

Belluck & Fox represented the family of RonaldDrabczyk, a factory worker at a chemical plant inNiagara Falls,NY.Drabczykdied frommesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.Drabczyk repaired valves manufactured by Fisher Controls which contained asbestos gaskets and packing. The valves were sold by Fisher to the Hooker plant whereDrabczyk overhauled them from 1970-1988. The evidence at trial demonstrated that Fisher was aware of the dangers of asbestos as early as 1946 but failed to place any warning on its products.

In addition to awardingDrabczyk’s estate $1.5 million in damages, the jury found that Fisher Controls acted negligently in failing to warn of the dangers associated with the valves. It found that Fisher Controls was responsible for five percent of the fault associated with his exposure and that the exposure to the valves was a substantial contributing factor in causingDrabczyk'smesothelioma. Further, the jury found that Fisher Controls acted with reckless disregard for the safety ofDrabczyk. UnderNew York law, this finding of reckless disregard renders Fisher Controls responsible for the entire verdict, minus a set-off for prior settlements.

This is the first instance that Fisher Controls has been found liable for using asbestos in its products.

The jury also awarded $750,000 in punitive damages, finding that Fisher Controls acted with wanton and reckless manners towardDrabczyk and others. This is the first punitive damage award in an asbestos case inNew YorkState in more than 20 years.

The case was tried byBelluck & Fox partner Jordan Fox and Michael P. Joyce of the Law Office of Michael P. Joyce inBoston,MA. The law firm ofLipsitz, Green,Scime Cambria, based inBuffalo,New York, served as co-counsel in the case. The trial lasted six weeks.

"The jury's verdict confirms that this corporation acted in a negligent and reckless manner in selling its valves without ever warning of the dangers associated with the asbestos-containing products used in these valves," Fox said. "The punitive damage verdict underscores that corporations have a duty to workers to protect them from hazards known or knowable regarding their products. The jury held Fisher Controls accountable for the fatal consequences of its actions. Although we cannot bring Mr.Drabczyk back, we hope that this verdict will send a message that these actions will not be tolerated."

AboutBelluck & Fox

Belluck & Fox, LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that represents individuals with asbestos andmesothelioma claims, as well as other serious injuries. The firm has obtained verdicts and settlements of nearly $225 million on behalf of its clients. Partner Jordan Fox has been named to the Best Lawyers inAmerica and to Super Lawyers and on two separate occasions his verdicts were featured as the National Law Journal's Largest Verdict of the Year. Partner Joseph W.Belluck is a Super Lawyer who has prosecuted numerous cases involving injuries from asbestos, defective medical products, tobacco and lead paint, including a recent asbestos case that settled for over $12 million.

Belluck & Fox sponsors www.mesotheliomahelp.net, one of the Web's leading sources of information aboutmesothelioma. The website features in-depth information on the diagnosis and treatment of pleuralmesothelioma and peritonealmesothelioma. MesotheliomaHelp.net also features patient profiles, biographic and contact information formesothelioma specialists throughout the country and a daily blog with the latest research onmesothelioma treatments.

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20091021006075&newsLang=en
 
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Jury Verdict – Asbestos Trades – $3.4 Million Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Jury Assesses a $3.4 Million Verdict for Johns-Manville Worker With Mesothelioma

Former Johns-Manville worker, Richard Worthley Sr., was exposed to raw asbestos supplied by Advocate Mines Limited. Due to his occupational asbestos exposure, he ultimately developed and succumbed to mesothelioma. In his defective product and negligence case against Advocate Mines Limited, aSan Franciscojury ruled in favor of Mr. Worthley's family, assessing a$3.4million verdict.

Novato,CA (PRWEB) July 23, 2009 -- After a single day of deliberations on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, aSan Francisco jury ruled in favor of the family of Richard Worthley Sr., a deceased former Johns-Manville Transite plant worker fromBeaumont,California. Thejury assessed a combined verdict of almost $3.4millionagainst Advocate Mines Limited due to their contribution in causing Mr. Worthley's mesothelioma and death. The jury determined that Advocate Mines Limited exposed Mr. Worthley to its defectively designed asbestos product, failed to warn about the dangers of their asbestos product, and that they were negligent. Advocate Mines Limited is an asbestos mine inBaie Verte,Newfoundland.          

Mr. Worthley served in the United States Marine Corps in the San Francisco Bay Area,San Diego,California, andVietnam from 1963 to 1967. In May 1968, he started his career at the Johns-Manville,Waukegan,IL plant as a painter, then a production planner, and eventually as a millwright. When the Johns-Manville plant closed in 1984, he worked as a maintenance mechanic and service technician throughoutSouthern California. In 2004, Mr. Worthley was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos caused cancer of the pleura, the organ that protects the lungs.

We demonstrated to the jury that it was the total dose of asbestos that Mr. Worthley was exposed to at theJohns-Manville plant, includingresuspended asbestos fiber fromAdvocate Mines Limited, that contributed together to cause his mesothelioma and death. 

 

Advocate Mines Limited supplied bulk asbestos fiber to the Johns-Manville,Waukegan,IL plant from December 1963 to April 1967. During his career at the plant from May 1968 to November 1984, Mr. Worthley was exposed to dust from the raw asbestos fiber used to make Transite asbestos-cement pipe, including asbestos fiber that had been reentrained and resuspended from when Advocate Mines Limited supplied asbestos fiber to the plant. In addition to simply being present on a daily basis in the contaminated plant, one of Mr. Worthley's jobs was to clean and repair the Transite manufacturing equipment. This included the willows, cleaning and repairing the dust collection equipment, the bag houses, ventilators, and cyclones. All these activities exposed Mr. Worthley to asbestos dust, including asbestos that originated from Advocate Mines Limited.

The trial began on June 10, 2009 and was presided over by the Hon. Tomar Mason in Department 606 of the San Francisco Superior Court. At trial, plaintiffs presented evidence showing that when used as intended, hazardous levels of respirable asbestos dust from Advocate Mines Limited raw asbestos fiber was released into the background of the facility. By 1963, it was well established in medicine and science that asbestos caused asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Yet, Advocate Mines Limited supplied its defective asbestos fiber without any warnings or any other reasonable care to avoid injury to others. The jury assigned 5% percent of the liability to Advocate Mines Limited.

"We demonstrated to the jury that it was the total dose of asbestos that Mr. Worthley was exposed to at the Johns-Manville plant, including resuspended asbestos fiber from Advocate Mines Limited, that contributed together to cause his mesothelioma and death." said James P. Nevin, counsel for Richard Worthley. Mr. Nevin of BraytonPurcell LLP, represented the Worthley family at trial.

Defendant Advocate Mines Limited was represented at trial by John Graniez and Suzanne Golden of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.

Case Information:
Mickie Worthley et al. v. Advocate Mines Limited, et. al.
San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 432308

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Jury Verdict– Asbestos Trades –$35.1 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Jury Awards $35.1 Million to RetiredU.S. Navy 
Boiler Tender Exposed to Asbestos

Verdict Is One of LA County’s Largest Ever in an Asbestos Case; 

 

LOS ANGELES — October 17, 2007 — ALos AngelesCountyjury late last week handed down a $35.1 million verdict to a 74-year-old retired U.S. Navy boiler tender, validating that his exposure to asbestos in pump, valve and pipe parts more than five decades ago is the direct cause of thedeadlymesothelioma he suffers with today.

 

The verdict is among one of the largest-ever awards inLos AngelesCounty for a plaintiff in a Navy asbestos exposure case. The verdict includes $100,000 for economic damages; $25 million to the victim for pain and suffering; and $10 million to the victim’s wife for loss of consortium. Leslie Controls and Warren Pumps were each assessed 7.1 percent liability. The judge disallowed consideration of punitive damages.

 

The plaintiff, John R. "Jack" Davis, wasdiagnosed with pleuralmesothelioma in January 2007. A native ofIdaho,Davis served as a fireman and boiler tender aboard the U.S.S.DeHaven for 4 years during the Korean War. Following his honorable discharge in 1955, he worked for American Pipe and Steel, and Sound Control Company, before being hired by Shell Oil in 1956. He worked at Shell refineries in Dominguez andWilmington,California., until 1963.

 

In 1964,Davis returned toIdaho, where he worked for Philip Petroleum and successive contractors at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) while studying college-level electronics and computers. He retired from INEEL in 1995. Until hismesothelioma diagnosis earlier this year, he and his wife, Janette, enjoyed an active retirement that revolved around family, sports and outdoor activities with his two children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

 

In his testimony, the soft-spoken and affable plaintiff described his work as a boiler tender in the aft engine room of the U.S.S.DeHaven. He explained that he had volunteered for the assignment — considered to be one of the least desirable aboard ship in cramped, hot and dirty quarters.

 

He also asserted that he would have protected himself had he known the danger of being exposed to the asbestos in the myriad small pump and valve components that he handled daily, both as a boiler tender in the Navy, and for a short period after as a pipefitter and instrument man in the private sector.

Davis clearly identified the products he handled as manufactured and branded by Leslie Controls and Warren Pumps.

 

The defense argued that responsibility forDavis’ illness lie with the U.S. Navy and subsequent employers, not the manufacturers. The defense also attempted to argue thatDavis’ radiation exposure while employed at INEEL was a cause or contributing factor to hismesothelioma diagnosis. The judge disallowed the argument due to a lack of medical and scientific evidence.

 

The defense, in its closing argument, challenged the jury to "knock a zero off" whatever award they might consider for the plaintiff. The jury was asked to consider what amount of money would really be necessary to allow theDavises to live comfortably given their age and life expectancy.

 

MikeArmitage, managing partner of WK’sLos Angeles office commented, "The defense’s closing argument was brazen. Here is a good man, a hard-working man, a loving husband, and a model father. He served his country loyally and honorably without question,then spent a lifetime bettering himself to support his family.His reward? It’s essentially a death sentence that was totally avoidable had the manufacturers only made the effort to warn workers to protect themselves."

"No, this case wasn’t about living comfortably," said Gary M. Paul, a WK partner and lead attorney on the case. "It was about justice."

An appeal filed by Leslie Controls and Warren Pumps is currently pending.

 

Full story -- http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/10/18/ap4235335.html

 
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Jury Award – Asbestos Trades –Mesothelioma Lawsuit

 

Monday, December 10, 2007

$8.2M awarded in asbestos case

Ajury awarded $8.2 million to a pipe fitter and his wife in an asbestos claim.

Union Carbide Corp. and Hexion Specialty Chemicals Inc., were accused of knowingly exposing workers to asbestos, which caused the plaintiff to develop cancer.

Full Story - http://news.galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=e04dde07828b19b2

 
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Mesothelioma Verdict – Asbestos Lawsuit – $7 Million Mesothelioma Award

Couple awarded $7 million in asbestos lawsuit

Thursday, March 13, 2008

(03-12) 17:25 PDTSAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco jury has ordered an asbestos manufacturer to pay more than $7 million in damages for exposing a onetime film actress and singer to the fibers that caused her terminal cancer while she was working in a home-remodeling business with her husband, the couple's lawyer said Wednesday.

The Superior Court jury assessed Joan and Daniel Mahoney's damages at $20 million Monday and assigned 30 percent of the responsibility to Georgia Pacific Corp., the only defendant in the trial, said attorney JohnLangdoc. He said the company probably would be ordered to pay a slightly higher proportion of the award, $7.1 million, under the rules on shared liability.

The rest of the damages will go unpaid, but the couple previously reached confidential settlements with other manufacturers,Langdoc said. He said the verdict was one of the largest ever in an asbestos case.

Joan Mahoney, 69, who now lives inSouth Lake Tahoe, was too ill for an interview Wednesday, her lawyer said. He quoted her as saying, "I'm happy that in the last part of my life, I've been able to make a difference in the corporate conduct of Georgia Pacific."

The company said it would appeal.

"We sympathize with Mrs. Mahoney and her family," Georgia Pacific attorney John Childs said in a statement. "However, based on the use, frequency and amount of exposure she has described - as well as the type of asbestos fiber that was contained in our joint compound - it is highly unlikely that a product formerly made by GP could have caused her injuries and illness."

Langdoc said Joan Mahoney grew up inSan Francisco, with alcoholic parents who were unable to care for her, and got her first job at 13 singing at the Purple Onion inNorthBeach by telling the management she was 18.

She moved toLos Angeles two years later and pursued a career in show business for 30 years, appearing in a low-budget 1965 film called "Psycho a Go-Go," singing at nightclubs and touring the world seven times with the USO, her lawyer said.

She and her husband, a Bay Area math teacher, moved toSouth Lake Tahoe in the late 1960s and started a part-time remodeling business to make ends meet,Langdoc said. He said the products they used included an asbestos compound made by Georgia Pacific to fill cracks in sheetrock.

The lawsuit claimed that the company continued making the compound long after learning that asbestos could cause cancer and competitors found substitutes, and stopped only after the federal government outlawed asbestos products in 1977.

The couple sued in 2006 after Joan Mahoney was diagnosed withmesothelioma, a type of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Doctors then gave her no more than nine months to live,Langdoc said.

He said she is living in pain from the disease while also caring for her husband of 42 years, who suffered a stroke last year.

E-mail BobEgelko atbegelko@sfchronicle.com.


Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/12/BADMVINSN.DTL&feed=rss.bayarea#ixzz0pGJszUfc
 
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Asbestos Fibers –Asbestos Company - Mesothelioma Jury Award

 

MESOTHELIOMA COURT CASE ROUNDUP

August 2009

Juries around the country have recently awarded more than$31.6 million in a half-dozen lawsuits triggered by disease relating to plaintiffs’ alleged exposure to asbestos.Asbestos fibers are linked to various diseases, includingmesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the lining of the lung and stomach. Themesothelioma case results are as follows:

·  $12.1 million to a retired Navy machinist against Lone Star Industries and John Crane, Inc.

·  $8.4 million to a formerdrywaller against Hamilton Materials, Inc.

·  $4.5 million to the family of a deceased construction worker againstBondex International, Inc. andConwed Corp.

·  $3.4 million to the family of a deceased asbestostransite plant worker against Advocate Mines Limited.

·  $2.5 million to the family of a deceased spouse of an asbestos worker against Union Asbestos & Rubber Co.; UNARCO Industries, Inc.;PneumoAbex, LLC; Honeywell International, Inc.; Johns-Manville;Raybestos-Manhattan; Owens-Illinois; Owens Corning; and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

·  $700,000 to the family of a deceased mechanic’s assistant againstGarlock Sealing Technologies.

 

http://www.pattonboggs.com/newsletters/insights/Release/insights_2009_08.htm

 
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Mesothelioma Verdict –Mesothelioma Lawsuit - Mesothelioma Jury Award

 

MESOTHELIOMA COURT CASE ROUNDUP

August 2009

Juries around the country have recently awarded more than$31.6 million in a half-dozen lawsuits triggered by disease relating to plaintiffs’ alleged exposure toasbestos. Asbestos fibers are linked to various diseases, includingmesothelioma, a deadly cancer of the lining of the lung and stomach. Themesothelioma case results are as follows:

·  $12.1 million to a retired Navy machinist against Lone Star Industries and John Crane, Inc.

·  $8.4 million to a formerdrywaller against Hamilton Materials, Inc.

·  $4.5 million to the family of a deceased construction worker againstBondex International, Inc. andConwed Corp.

·  $3.4 million to the family of a deceased asbestostransite plant worker against Advocate Mines Limited.

·  $2.5 million to the family of a deceased spouse of an asbestos worker against Union Asbestos & Rubber Co.; UNARCO Industries, Inc.;PneumoAbex, LLC; Honeywell International, Inc.; Johns-Manville;Raybestos-Manhattan; Owens-Illinois; Owens Corning; and Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

·  $700,000 to the family of a deceased mechanic’s assistant againstGarlock Sealing Technologies.

 

http://www.pattonboggs.com/newsletters/insights/Release/insights_2009_08.htm

 
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Mesothelioma – Asbestos Legal - $25.2 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Philadelphia Asbestos Verdict - $25.2 million

The Legal Intelligencer – March 20, 2008

The Legal Intelligencer reports that after a reverse-bifurcated trial, a Philadelphiajury awarded $25.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to compensate for malignant mesothelioma deaths. Plaintiffs in the three cases requested Kentucky law; two settled after the compensatory damage phase. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys, Kentucky law ultimately permitted the jury to award higher punitive damages than it could under Pennsylvania law. Here’s an excerpt:

His case,Baccus v. Crane Co., was brought against the Crane Co., John Crane and Yarway, a company. The defendants sought to have Kentucky law apply to the jury's findings inBaccus and the judge agreed. The jury had previously awarded $7 million in compensatory damages to Baccus and apportioned liability in the amount of 45 percent against John Crane, 35 percent against Crane Co. and 20 percent against Yarway, Shein said.

The jury, applying Kentucky law, also found Yarway and Crane Co. "grossly negligent for failure to warn of the dangers of asbestos in reckless disregard of the safety of others," Shein said. The jurors assessed$11.9 million in punitive damages against Crane Co. and$6.3 million against Yarway.

Shein said this is the first case in Philadelphia he has seen in more than 20 years in which a jury awarded punitive damages in an asbestos case. He said the standard for applying such damages in an asbestos case in Pennsylvania is "much, much higher." He said Pennsylvania usually defers the finding of punitive damages until later in the case whereas Kentucky law instructs the court to do it sooner.

The defendants, Shein said, wanted to apply Kentucky law because it uses an apportioned liability standard in which each of the defendants, even those who previously settled, are given an individual portion of liability. The Pennsylvania model is more akin to "in for a penny, in for a pound," Shein said, in which each defendant splits the damages equally.

"The thing kind of backfired on them because the jury held all of the settled defendants zero-percent responsible," he said.

The defendants that settled before thecompensatory damages phase of the trial were Ingersoll Rand, THAN, IMO/DeLaval, Westinghouse, Owens Illinois and Goulds Pumps.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/03/philadelphia-as.html

 
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Honeywell International – Asbestos Company - $53.5 Million Asbestos Verdict

Honeywell Says Asbestos Verdict Was More Than It Had Disclosed

By ALEX BERENSON
Published: April 18, 2002

Honeywell International appears to have misinformed analysts and shareholders about how much of a$53.5 million verdict it is responsible for paying in the case of a man who died of a cancer caused by asbestos.

When the judgment was announced on Feb. 8 in a Manhattan court, Honeywell's stock dove as much as 11 percent during the day, shaving $3 billion off its market value. Honeywell's shares quickly rebounded after the company said it had been found liable for less than$1.1 million of the verdict, a figure that made its way into Wall Street analysts' reports. But the company's statement immediately raised questions among lawyers who had followed the case but were not involved in it. Those lawyers, who included both plaintiff and defense attorneys, said the company's true responsibility was much greater.

Honeywell now says that it must pay at least $11 million of the judgment, according to Peter M. Kreindler, its general counsel. Mr. Kreindler said Honeywell planned to appeal the verdict and had not misled investors about its size. The company does not face financially significant liability from asbestos cases, he said, and has $2 billion in asbestos insurance.

Although $11 million is minor for a company Honeywell's size, investors are nervous about Honeywell's asbestos liabilities. Last winter, investors punished the stocks of several major companies like Halliburton and 3M after a series of multimillion-dollar asbestos verdicts. The companies generally say that they do not expect the litigation to damage their financial health, but most have not discussed their liabilities in detail.

Honeywell faces about 50,000 asbestos injury claims, including nearly 1,000 claims from people suffering from the cancer in this case, mesothelioma. The North American Refractories Company, a former unit of AlliedSignal, which merged with Honeywell in 1999, made bricks that contained asbestos. That business faces an additional 116,000 asbestos claims and filed for bankruptcy in January.

In addition, Honeywell may be an especially ripe target for plaintiffs because a manager at Bendix, the Honeywell subsidiary that is the target of the suits because it makes brake linings that once contained asbestos, wrote in a 1966 letter that his response to concerns about asbestos was: ''If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products why not die from it.''

Based in Morristown, N.J., Honeywell makes everything from specialty chemicals to electronic equipment for aircraft. The company has 115,000 employees and a market value of nearly $33 billion.

The judgment in February, the largest ever for a single plaintiff in an asbestos case, was awarded to Patricia Brown, the wife of Stephen Brown. Mr. Brown, a former brake mechanic and coast guardsman, died of mesothelioma in December 2000.

The jury found Bendix 2.35 percent responsible for Mr. Brown's death. Under most circumstances, that finding would mean Honeywell is responsible for paying 2.35 percent, or $1.26 million, of the verdict under New York state law.

In his comments on the case, Thomas B. Crane, a Honeywell spokesman, emphasized the 2.35 percent figure to reporters and analysts. Mr. Crane said Honeywell's portion of the verdict ''was 2.3 percent,'' according to the Dow Jones Newswires. Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Crane had ''estimated the amount at about $1.06 million.''

Wall Street analysts who follow Honeywell accepted the company's explanation and figures.

Harriet C. Baldwin, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, wrote in a report on Feb. 11 that Honeywell's share of the case was$1.1 million and would be covered by insurance. In an interview this week, Ms. Baldwin recalled that ''that verdict was just over $1 million.'' Similarly, Phua K. Young, an analyst for Merrill Lynch, wrote, referring to the company by its stock symbol, that ''according to HON, if they are successful the possible monetary outcome for the company could be something less (possibly materially less) than the current share of $1.2 million.''

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/18/business/honeywell-says-asbestos-verdict-was-more-than-it-had-disclosed.html?pagewanted=1

 
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Asbestos – Asbestos Legal - $11 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Texas Mesothelioma Asbestos Lawsuit Results in $11M Verdict

AboutLawsuits.com | April 2nd, 2010 at 9:31 am

ATexas painter has been awarded $11 million in a mesothelioma asbestos lawsuit against Bondex, Union Carbide and other manufacturers whose parts allegedly contained cancer-causing asbestos. 

A jury inDallas handed down the verdict on March 30 in favor of Vernon Walker and his wife, Patsy Walker. According to a press release issued by attorneys representing the couple,Walker wasdiagnosedwith mesothelioma cancer after working as a career painter in the construction industry.

Walker worked as a union painter on skyscrapers and other construction projects. The defendants in theasbestos exposure lawsuit said that the types of asbestosWalker had been exposed to, including chrysotile and calidria, do not cause asbestos-related cancer.

The$11 million verdict apportioned 40% of the liability forWalker’s cancer to Union Carbide, and the rest of the blame was divided among defendants that included product manufacturers Bondex, Kelly Moore and Georgia Pacific. However, all of the defendants except Bondex settled out of court before a verdictwas reached.

Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and it is often not diagnosed until decades after exposure. As a result of the long latency period, the cancer is very advanced when it is diagnosed and life expectancy with the disease is limited.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s. Despite the ban, the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the number of mesothelioma deaths continues to rise each year due to the latency period, with the number expected to peak in 2010.

Asbestos mesothelioma lawsuits are the longest running mass tort inU.S. history, with the first asbestos exposure case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after beingdiagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.

 
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Verdict – Asbestos Lawsuit – $35 Million Mesothelioma Award

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Former sailor awarded $35M in asbestos suit

A former Navy sailor who was exposed to asbestos more than 50 years ago has beenawarded $35.1 million in compensatory damages after he was diagnosed with cancer. John R. Davis was diagnosed in January with pleuralmesothelioma, an aggressive cancer linked to asbestos, in January 2007.

In his lawsuit,Davis claimed his illness was triggered by exposure to asbestos containing pipes and valves during his Navy and private-sector career.Davis had been a boiler tender with the Navy. Theverdict includes $100,000for economic damages; $25 million for pain and suffering; and $10 million for his wife.

Full story -- http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2007/10/18/ap4235335.html

 
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Jury Award – Second Hand Exposure – $3.6 Million Verdict

Ford Motor Co. to Pay $3.6M in Mesothelioma Case

Thursday, November 6, 2008

 

A woman who contractedmesothelioma after second-hand contact with asbestos hasbeen awarded $3.6 million by aFlorida jury. Lynda Daly worked for a Ford dealership in the 1970's,where she claims she was exposed to asbestos-filled brakes. She also believes that she may have ingested the asbestos because her husband repaired brakes at home. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It generally kills victims within two years of detection.

Full Story - http://www.miamiherald.com/news/broward/breaking-news/story/759340.html

 
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Asbestos – Asbestos Company – $4.3 Million Asbestos Lung Cancer Verdict

 

 

GEORGE SMITH vs. AP GREEN INDUSTRIES INC. ET AL

 

May 23, 2001, San Francisco Superior Court, Case number: 315105

 

Description of Case: George Smith worked as apipefitter at the Mobil Oil refinery inTorrance,California in 1966. He was exposed to asbestos on the job and later developed lung cancer. The asbestos exposure came from the insulation products he used, and from asbestos dust raised by other employees, of which he had no warning.

 

Resolution:$4.3 million verdict against Mobil Oil Corporation

 

Economic damages: $2.5 million

 

Non-economic damages: $319,000

 

Non-economic damages: to his wife, Hanna, $1.5 million for loss of consortium Mobil Oil was held to be 12.5% responsible for George's illness, for "failure to use reasonable care."

 
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Asbestos Verdict – Asbestos Company – $1 Million Asbestos Lung Cancer Verdict

 

 

DWIGHT ODLE vs. GASKET HOLDINGS, INC.

 

July 17 2001, San Francisco Superior Court, Case number: 317966

 

Description of Case: Flexitallic Gaskets are 50-90% asbestos, but there is still debate over how much of the asbestos is released in normal use.

 

Resolution:Over $1 million verdict against Flexitallic Gaskets.

 

Economic damages: $224,645 for Mr. Dwight Odle

 

Non-economic: $250,000 for Mr. Dwight Odle, $350,000 for Mrs. Pearl Odle. Gasket Holdings was found to be 1.75% responsible for the damages to Dwight and Pearl Odle.


 
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Jury Verdict – Asbestos Trades – $10 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

California Welder/Boilermaker Gets 10 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Ulysses Collins andCloristeen Collins v. Plant Insulation Company (2009)
AlamedaCounty Superior Court No. RG04143303
Honorable Harry Sheppard,AlamedaCounty Superior Court Judge

Plaintiffs: Ulysses Collins,Cloristeen Collins, and Patricia Collins
Defendant: Plant Insulation Company

Ulysses Collinsdied ofmesothelioma at the age of sixty-five. He was a welder at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard from 1960-1973, a welder/boilermaker at Standard Oil inRichmond,California from 1973-1976, and a welder at Mare Island Naval Shipyard inVallejo,California from 1976-1994.

The case settled before trial with various defendants and proceeded to trial only against Plant Insulation. Plant was the exclusive Northern California supplier of asbestos-containing thermal insulation manufactured byPabco/Fibreboard inEmeryville,California. Plant also was an insulation contractor at numerous industrial and commercial sites inNorthern California.

Trial commenced on October 2, 2008 and thejury returned a verdict on November 6, 2008. Thejury verdict for plaintiffs was $10,038,000, which included$1,038,000 in economic damages. Thejury determined thatPlant was 20% liable for Mr. Collins'mesothelioma.

Ulysses Collins,Cloristeen Collins, and Patricia Collins were represented at trial by Firm principal Phillip Harley and associate MattThiel.
 
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Jury Verdict – Asbestos Company – $4 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Southern CaliforniaEdison Brake Mechanic Gets $4 Million

Robert Frank Smith and Mary Lou Smith v.PneumoAbex LLC (2009)


Los AngelesCounty Superior Court Docket No. BC396072

On March 25, 2009, aLos Angelesjury returned a verdict of $4,055,000 againstPneumoAbex LLC for Robert and Mary Lou Smith.

Robert Smith, age 65, worked from 1968 to 1971 as aautomobile serviceman for Southern California Edison inLong Beach,California. He and his fellow workers regularlyinspected, removed, and replaced asbestos-containing brakes on the Southern California Edison’s fleet of vehicles, causing him to breathe deadly asbestos dust.PneumoAbex LLC manufactured many of these brakes, which Edison purchased from a localNAPA store. Mr. Smith was also exposed to asbestos while working as a truck driver from 1971 to the early 1980s hauling used brake shoes to and from a Sears, Roebuck & Co. facility.

Robert Smith was diagnosed withmesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer. TheKazan firm filed suit on behalf ofMr.and Mrs. Smith in June 2008. Evidence at trial showed thatPneumoAbex had been aware of the deadly health effects of breathing asbestos dust since at least the 1940s, but thatPneumoAbex did not begin warning its customers of those effects until years after Mr. Smith was exposed to the asbestos-containing brakes it made and sold. Indeed,PneumoAbex was involved in medical studies regarding the health effects of asbestos at Saranac Laboratory inNew York during the 1930s and 1940s and its Medical Director was a frequent speaker on asbestos health hazards during the 1940s. Despite its knowledge of the hazards of asbestos,PneumoAbex continued to sell asbestos-containing brakes until 1987. The jury found thatPneumoAbex defectively designed its brakes, failed to adequately warn consumers and customers of the dangers its brakes posed, and was negligent, all of which contributed to causing Mr. Smith’smesothelioma. The jury did not apportion liability to Sears. Thejury awarded Mr. Smith $900,000 for his past and futuremedical expenses,$480,000 for his lost income and household services, and$2,500,000 for his pain and suffering. The jury also awarded Mary Lou Smith, his wife of over 44 years,$175,000 for her loss of her husband’s support and companionship.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith were represented at trial by Firm principal Phillip Harley and associates JustinBosl and MatthewThiel.
 
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Jury Verdict – Asbestos Company – $6.5 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Childhood household exposure to asbestos Jury Awards $6.5 Million

Jeanette Franklin v. USX Corporation (2000)AlamedaCounty Superior Court 816407-0.
Attorneys atKazan, McClain, Abrams, Lyons &Farrise madeU.S. asbestos litigation history with averdict of $6,500,000 in an asbestos cancer case that arose after childhoodhousehold exposure to asbestos.

Jeanette Franklin, the plaintiff, was a little girl in the 1940s when both of her parents worked at USX Corporation's Western Pipe & Steel shipyard inSouth San Francisco. Her father was a burner (welder) and her mother a ship's carpenter's assistant. Her parents unknowingly carried deadly asbestos fibers home on their clothing, and their young children were exposed.

In March 1999, Jeanette Franklin wasdiagnosed withmesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer, and on August 25, 1999, The Firm filed suit on her behalf. By February 2000, the case was settled with almost all of the defendants except USX Corporation. USX is the successor corporation to Western Pipe & Steel shipyard, and refused to offer even $1. The case was tried to an Alameda County, California, jury by Firm principalSimonaFarrise and associate Andrea Huston.
 
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New Jersey – Asbestos Lawsuit – $30.3 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

N.J. Court Affirms Record $30.3 Million Award in Asbestos Exposure Case

New Jersey Law Journal

April 06, 2010

 

ANew Jersey appeals court on Monday upheld a$30.3 million verdict in anasbestos-exposure mesothelioma case, the largest known award in the state.

The defendants lost on every issue, including the standard of causation to be applied in light of the plaintiff's short history of working withasbestos-laden materials.

The suit, Buttitta v. Allied Signal, A-5263-07, was brought by Susan Buttitta whose husband, Mark, a 50-year-old advertising executive fromGlenRidge, died from mesothelioma in 2002, a year after he was diagnosed.

In February 2008, aBergenCountyjury awarded damages of $8 million for pain and suffering; $2 million for loss of consortium; $9,281,660 for lost earnings; $2,030,544 for loss of services; and $3 million to each of Buttitta's three daughters for loss of parental care.

Dozens of companies were sued but only two -- Borg-Warner Corp. and Asbestos Corp. Ltd. -- were the left by the time of the verdict. Two others, C.L. Zimmerman Co. and Honeywell International, settled during trial, while General Motors Corp. settled beforehand, all three on confidential terms.

The suit combined direct exposure claims characteristic of traditional asbestos litigation with indirect or "take home" exposure, as recognized by the state Supreme Court in Olivo v. Owens-Illinois, Inc., 186 N.J. 394 (2006).

Buttitta was allegedly exposed as a child to asbestos by his father, who handled brakes and clutches containing asbestos working at a GM warehouse inBloomfield and carried the fibers home on his work clothes.

Buttitta also encountered asbestos directly in the early 1970s, when he was in college and spent summers and winter breaks working at a GM warehouse inEnglewood handling auto parts.

On appeal, Borg-Warner and Asbestos Corp. raised such issues as what standard of causation applies in a mesothelioma case; whether a preliminary hearing was needed to admit testimony of the plaintiff's expert; whether liability should be allocated against the settling defendants; and whether remittitur should have been granted.

On causation, the appeals judges agreed with Superior Court Judge Brian Martinotti that the "frequency, regularity and proximity" test for asbestosis cases should be viewed differently in the context of a claim involving mesothelioma which, unlike asbestosis, can develop from infrequent exposure to a relatively small amount of asbestos.

Thus, Buttitta's "rather brief work history" with asbestos was sufficient to establish medical causation of mesothelioma 30 years later, Judges Francine Axelrad, Clarkson Fisher and Paulette Sapp-Peterson held in a per curiam unpublished opinion.

Another causation-related issue was Martinotti's decision to allow deposition testimony from an unrelated case inTexas to be read to the jury.

Part of Borg-Warner's defense was that its asbestos-related products were not present in the GM warehouse when Buttitta worked there. It was tough to prove because Borg-Warner had destroyed its records of sales to GM facilities inNew Jersey when it got out of the clutch business.

The disputed testimony was from John Froning, former manager of GM's clutch and manual transmission group, who testified in theTexas case that from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s Borg-Warner was GM's "prime" supplier of clutches.

Borg-Warner tried to keep out Froning's testimony as irrelevant, but the appeals court agreed with Martinotti that the real question was whether the testimony was too circumstantial, which was for the jury to decide.

The panel also saw no merit in Borg-Warner's argument that Martinotti should have held a hearing on whether to admit the testimony of plaintiff's experts. The company called "novel and unsupported" their opinions that asbestos fibers in Buttitta's biopsied lung tissue were consistent with occupational rather than background exposure, that there was no safe level of exposure and that Buttitta's exposure caused his mesothelioma.

The appeals court said it didn't matter that no expert could identify the specific asbestos-containing product causing the mesothelioma, given Buttitta's testimony about having handled dust-covered boxes and automobile parts.

The judges also rejected the argument that part of the verdict should be allocated against settling defendants GM, Honeywell and Zimmerman, finding no error in Martinotti's denial of a request to include them on the verdict sheet. There was insufficient evidence to allocate liability, the court said, despite evidence that Buttitta was exposed to asbestos-containing parts made by all three and the fact that a reasonable jury could conclude that those other parts were concurrent causes of his death.

Borg-Warner also lost its argument that the$11,030,544 awarded for loss of spousal and parental services was excessive and should have been remitted to $1,088,754, the amount set by the plaintiff's expert.

The appeals judges deferred to Martinotti's "feel of the case" in denying remittitur, saying the award "may have been generous, as recognized by the judge, but it was based on the undisputed evidence that Mark was an active and engaged father, and would have been expected to provide significant intangible services to his children such as guidance, training and counseling."

Asbestos Corp., a Quebec, Canada, company that supplied asbestos to GM and Zimmerman, unsuccessfully appealed rulings that found New Jersey courts had personal jurisdiction over the company and imposed sanctions -- striking its answer and defenses and limiting its role at trial -- for its failure to comply with discovery rulings that allegedly clashed with Quebec law.

Arnold Lakind, of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader in Lawrenceville who argued the appeal for the plaintiff, says he is not aware of a largermesothelioma verdict in the state.

The second largest one he knows of is also one of his cases, a $7.8 million verdict against ExxonMobil in May 2008. Plaintiff Bonnie Anderson claimed she contracted mesothelioma from laundering clothing worn by her husband to his job at the Exxon Bayway Refinery inElizabeth. Oral argument of ExxonMobil's appeal is set for April 26.

Borg-Warner's attorney, Paul Zidlicky of Sidley Austin inWashington,D.C., declines comment. The company, now known as Burns International Services Corp., was also represented by Norah Grimbergen of Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas inNew Brunswick.

Deborah Knight, of Goldfein & Joseph inPhiladelphia, the lawyer for Asbestos Corp., did not return a call.

http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202447541716
 
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Asbestos– Asbestos Company – $3 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Nation's First Industrial Talc/Asbestos Verdict

November 17, 2006

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Industrial talc, an open-pit- mined mineral used in ceramic, paint, and paper manufacturing contains lethal,cancer-causing asbestos fibers responsible for a pottery artisan's fatalmesothelioma, a jury ruled today in thefirst-ever U.S. verdict connecting industrial talc with asbestos-related cancer, the national toxic tort law firm Levy Phillips &Konigsberg, LLP announced.

More than$3 million in compensatory damages were awarded by a Middlesex County Superior Court jury to aNew Jersey widow whose husband operated pottery studios in Skillman, Lawrenceville andLambertville,New Jersey before contracting the agonizingly painful, always fatal disease.

After a four-week trial the four-woman, two-man jury rejected claims by R.T. Vanderbilt, Incorporated ("Vanderbilt") that talc from its New York State mines contained fibers that may have looked similar to but were not a lethal form of asbestos, a position that the company has maintained for decades.Hammill & Gillespie, Inc., which sold the industrial talc, was also found liable.

In the next phase of the trial, punitive damages will be sought against the defendants. It is scheduled to begin November 28 before the Hon. Ann G. McCormick, according to Attorney MosheMaimon, Esq., of Levy Phillips &Konigsberg, LLP who represents the estate of pottery artisan Peter Stanley Hirsch.

An active outdoorsman who enjoyed rock climbing, mountain climbing, hiking, sailing and skiing before contractingmesothelioma, Hirsch attendedPrincetonHigh School before graduating fromHarvardUniversity in 1972 with a degree in Engineering and Applied Physics. Hirsch built the first pottery kiln at Harvard in 1970, as part of an extra-curricular program.

After three years of marketing for a high-tech Princeton-based company, Hirsch started "Rock Brook Pottery," first in Lawrenceville, then in Skillman and finally at the Lace Works on N.J. Route 29 in Lambertville. After Hirsch closed the Lambertville studio in 1982 he worked in marketing/sales for three other Princeton-area high-tech firms, then as a self-employed organizational and marketing consultant until he was no longer able work, according to court documents and testimony.

Hirsch's exposure to asbestos-contaminated industrial talc occurred during the seven years he operated pottery studios, personally mixing glazes containing Vanderbilt's NYTAL(R) 100 industrial talc purchased fromHammill & Gillespie, Inc.,Livingston,New Jersey, among other sources. Hirsch purchased NYTAL(R) 100 talc in 50-to-100-pound bags during this period. Each time he opened a bag of Vanderbilt talc, scooped or poured out contents it generated very fine dust that was suspended in the air until it landed on the floor or Hirsch's clothes,Maimon said.

"This first-everU.S. verdict finally -- and decisively -- proves that industrial talc from Vanderbilt'sNew YorkState mines contains lethal asbestos fibers.New Jersey jurors have sent out a powerful, clear message to Vanderbilt and other companies that mine, mill or market industrial talc. Not only must their own workers be protected from lung disease, end users and others who come into contact with the product must be warned properly of the carcinogenic fibers lurking in this dusty powder used in so many manufacturing applications,"Maimon said.

"Vanderbilt should immediately edit its Web site and printed materials to eliminate its claim thatNew YorkState industrial talc is safe and has no carcinogenic effects,"Maimon added.

In addition toMaimon, Carmen Victoria St. George, Esq., of Levy Phillips &Konigsberg, LLP, and ArnoldLakind, Esq., ofSzaferman,Lakind, Blumstein,Blader &Lehmann, P.C.,Lawrenceville,New Jersey, represent the plaintiff.

   SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY - LAW DIVISION:MIDDLESEXCOUNTY
   DOCKET NO : MID-L-2706-03AS; BONNIE L. PARKER, individually and as
   Executrix and the Executrix adProsequendum of the ESTATE OF PETER STANLEY
   HIRSCH VS R.T. VANDERBILT COMPANY, INC, ET AL.

SOURCE Levy Phillips &Konigsberg, LLP

http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?n=1&neID=200611161680.2_a517004d432807f9

 
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Asbestos – Asbestos Company –Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Kentucky Jury Finds for Defense in Asbestos Suit

By KENNETH BRADLEY, ESQ., Andrews Publications Staff Writer

December 31, 2009 at 8:47am

 

A jury inJeffersonCounty,Kentucky., has returned averdict in favor of Ford Motor Co. and Garlock Sealing Technologies following a trial in which a former millwright said he developed cancer from exposure to asbestos in insulation and gaskets.

The plaintiff intends to appeal the verdict, according to his attorney, Joe Satterley of Sales & Satterley inLouisville,Ky. He said the trial judge wrongly allowed Ford to introduce hearsay evidence and let Garlock substitute an expert witness at the last minute.

Plaintiff James Rehm worked as a millwright for Rapid Installations Inc. from September 1977 through March 1981 in theLouisville area. His work took him to various plants, including those owned by Ford, General Electric, International Harvester and Rohm & Haas.

Rehm's duties included tearing out insulated pipes and equipment and installing conveyor systems. He also said he removed thousands of gaskets while working as a millwright and identified Garlock as one of the gasket manufacturers.

After working for various elevator companies starting in 1981, Rehm retired in 2001 because of hismesothelioma, a fatal form oflung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Although he claimed not to have been exposed to asbestos while working as an elevator mechanic, records show he made a claim for such exposure against his last employer, Otis Elevator Co., according to Chris Massenburg of Swetman, Baxter & Massenburg inHattiesburg,Miss., who represented Garlock.

Massenburg said Garlock argued that Rehm had overwhelming exposure to amphibole asbestos from insulation and could have only received low-dose exposure from the chrysotile asbestos in gaskets.

Judge A.C. McKacy Chauvin of the Jefferson County Circuit Court allowed Ford to admit evidence from newspaper articles that contradicted Rehm's testimony as to when he worked at the Ford plant, according to Massenburg.

Satterley said the newspaper evidence was hearsay and will form one of the bases for the plaintiff's appeal.

The jury took less than an hour to return a verdict in favor of both Garlock and Ford.

Massenburg said the plaintiff asked the jury to award more than $20 million, including punitive damages.

Rehm reached many confidential settlements with other parties, according to Satterley.

The plaintiff called as expert witnesses William Ewing, a certified industrial hygienist fromKennesaw,Ga.; Ronald Dodson, a cell biologist fromTyler,Texas; Samuel Hammar, a pathologist fromBremer,Wash.; and William Baldwin, an economist fromLexington,Ky.

Garlock called Donna Ringo, a certified industrial hygienist fromLouisville, and James Crapo, a pulmonologist fromDenver.

Ford called epidemiologist Robert Morgan fromAiken,S.C.

To comment, ask questions or contribute articles, contact West.Andrews.Editor@ThomsonReuters.com.

The plaintiff was represented by Joe Satterley and Kenneth Sales of Sales & Satterley in Louisville.Garlock was represented by Chris Massenburg of Swetman, Baxter & Massenburg inHattiesburg,Miss., and Max Swetman of the firm'sNew Orleans office.Ford was represented by Byron Miller and Adam Shadburne of Thompson Miller & Simpson inLouisville.


Rehm et al. v. Navistar International Corp. et al., No. 01-CI-01344, verdict returned (Ky. Cir. Ct.,JeffersonCountyAug. 17, 2009).
Asbestos Litigation Reporter
Volume 31, Issue 24
09/16/2009
 
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Mesothelioma – Asbestos Trades – $3.4 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

California jury awards $3.4M in asbestos case

By Tooher, Nora
Publication: LawyersUSA 
Date: Friday, July 31 2009 

ASan Francisco jury deliberated one day before finding a Canadian company liable for exposing a deceased former Johns-Manville Transite plant worker to asbestos.

Richard Worthley Sr., aVietnam veteran, worked in the plant inWaukegan,Illinois. from May 1968 to 1984, when it closed.

to southernCalifornia and worked as a maintenance mechanic and service technician until 2004, when he wasdiagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The defendant in the case, Advocate Mines of Newfoundland,Canada, argued that it had stopped supplying asbestos to the plant 13 months before Worthley began working there, and denied liability for any asbestos exposure.

But Plaintiffs' attorney James Nevin told jurors that Worthley - who held several jobs at the plant as a painter, production planner and millwright - was exposed to dust from raw asbestos fiber on a daily basis.

The fiber he was exposed to was used to make asbestos-cement pipe, and it included fiber supplied by Advocate Mines that remained in the plant, Nevin said.

In addition to being exposed to asbestos by working in the contaminated plant, one of Worthley's jobs was to clean and repair manufacturing and dust-collection equipment in the factory, including the ventilators.

"All those activities exposed Mr. Worthley to asbestos dust, including from Advocate Mines Limited," Nevin said.

Chrysotile safety debated

The two main issues during the six-week trial were whether Worthley was exposed to asbestos dust at the plant, and whether the asbestos from Advocate Mines caused his mesothelioma.

Defense attorney John Graniez argued that there wasn't enough of Advocate Mine's asbestos left in the plant to be harmful by the time Worthley started working there.

"Common sense will tell you that none of Advocate Mine's asbestos could have contributed to that guy's mesothelioma," Graniez said.

A secondary defense argument was that even if a minor amount of Advocate Mine's asbestos was left in the plant, it was a form of asbestos - Chrysotile - that was not as hazardous as other forms.

Both arguments failed.

"The jury wasn't buying any of it," Nevin commented.

Plaintiffs' experts included Kenneth Cohen, an industrial hygienist fromEl Cajon,Calif.; a pulmonatory pathologist, an epidemiologist and an asbestos detection expert.

They all testified that scientific literature andU.S. safety standards "are all very consistent [in stating] that all types of asbestos cause mesothelioma," Nevin said.

Advocate Mines "supplied its defective asbestos fiber without any warnings or any other reasonable care to avoid injuries to others," he added.

In a statement, Nevin said that the plaintiffs "demonstrated to the jury that it was the total dose of asbestos that Mr. Worthley was exposed to at the Johns-Manville plant, including resuspended asbestos fiber from Advocate Mines Limited, that contributed together to cause his mesothelioma and death."

During cross-examination, Nevin confronted defense experts with articles by 52 mainstream scientists confirming that Chrysotile asbestos causes mesothelioma.

On July 22, the 12 jurors unanimously held that Advocate Mines was liable for negligence, defective design and failure to warn. Theyawarded $877,750 in economic damages and $2.5 million in non-economic damages. However, Advocate Mines was held liable only for 5 percent of Worthley's non-economic damages.

The jury didn't find anyone liable for the other 95 percent. But many other defendants already settled in this case - for both personal injury and wrongful death claims - for a total of$1.5 million.Advocate Mines was the only defendant to go to trial.

UnderCalifornia law, the company is jointly and severally liable for the economic damages, but only liable for its share of fault for the non-economic damages.

That means the judge applied the 5 percent "at fault" determination to the$2.5 million in non-economic damages, making Advocate Mines liable for$125,000 of that amount.

In awarding economic damages, the judge will consider the economic damages awarded at trial, thesettlements from other defendants and Advocate's liability in calculating a figure.

Graniez believeseconomic damages will amount to about $628,000, for a totalaward of $753,000, plus costs. Nevin expects the final amount will be closer to $800,000.

"The plaintiffs will never be made completely whole," Nevin said. "This is one of the harsh realities of the legacy of asbestos exposure to American workers. They and their families are rarely fully compensated."

Graniez said that post-trial motions are scheduled for Sept. 11, at which time the judge will determine economic damages.

Plaintiffs' attorney: James Nevin of Brayton & Purcell inNovato,Calif.

Defense attorneys: John Graniez and Suzanne Golden of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith inLos Angeles.

The case: Worthley v. Advocate Mines; July 22, 2009; Superior Court,San Francisco,Calif., Judge Tomar Mason.

Credit: Nora Tooher

http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/torts-toxic-torts/12601556-1.html

 
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Mesothelioma – Asbestos Company – $200 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Jury awards woman $200 million in asbestos case

April 30, 2010 | KPCC Wire Services | KPCC

Ajury awarded a woman more than $200 million after it found that her rare form of cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos from washing her husband's contaminated work-clothes.

A Superior Court jury found this week that Rhoda Evans' mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos dust from CertainTeed asbestos cement water pipes, said attorney Larry Gornick of Levin Simes Kaiser & Gornick LLP, which represented the Evans family.

In addition to $8.8 million in compensatory damages to be paid by DWP and CertainTeed, the jury agreed late Thursday to also levy$200 million in punitive damages against CertainTeed, the attorney said.

Calls for comment to representatives of CertainTeed and DWP were not immediately returned.

The next step in the lawsuit before Superior Court Judge Conrad R. Aragon is a series of motions to be filed by both sides, Gornick said.

Aragon will decide on any award amount to be paid, which is expected to be reduced, Levin said.

"It is our hope that the damages awarded will relieve some of Rhoda's suffering, as well as the burden of her medical expenses so that her life will be prolonged and she can continue to care and provide for her young granddaughter,'' Levin said, adding that the 7-year-old girl was orphaned a few

years ago when Rhoda's own daughter died of complications from juvenile onset diabetes.

"We also hope that the punitive damage award will serve to make the community safer by making product manufacturers think twice before concealing dangerous characteristics of their products.'' he said.

The case stems from Bobby Evans' employment with DWP from 1974 to 1998.

As part of his job, Gornick said, Evans was routinely exposed to asbestos while working with pipes manufactured by CertainTeed, aValley Forge, Pennsylvania.-based manufacturer of building materials.

Gornick said the jury found CertainTeed had knowledge that asbestos caused cancer in the early 1960s. However, the company continued to manufacture the asbestos pipes and did not place a cancer warning on them until 1985, the lawyer said.

"CertainTeed was fully aware that its products contained cancer-causing asbestos, but chose not to warn about the risk for decades, said another plaintiff attorney, William Levin.

The jury found CertainTeed liable for punitive damages, for pain and suffering, and for loss of future earnings and medical expenses, Gornick said.

After Evans retired from the DWP, the couple, who are now in their late 60s, relocated toNorth Carolina.

http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/04/30/jury-awards-woman-200-million-asbestos-case/

 
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Asbestos – $6 Million Asbestos Verdict

 

February 4, 2004 -Oregon jury orders valve maker to pay asbestos victim $6M


AnOregon jury ordered valve manufacturer DeZurik Inc., to pay a lung cancer victim$6 million in damages. The plaintiff allegedly worked with the valves over 40 years as a steamfitter. Other firms named as defendants in the lawsuit entered into confidential settlements prior to trial.

 

Associated Press on 02/04/2004

 
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Asbestos Company -$20 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

$20M Settlement Reached in Construction Lawsuit

Baron & Budd P.C. announced this week that a$20 million settlement was reached in the suit against Georgia Pacific Corp.

The suit was filed on behalf of a woman who was employed with a construction company and developedmesothelioma as a result of beingexposed to asbestos while at work.

Asbestos Exposure

Joan Mahoney, 69, worked part-time for a construction company where she was exposed to products containing asbestos that were manufactured by Georgia Pacific.

Evidence at the trial reportedly showed that Georgia Pacific knew when they entered the asbestos business that asbestos was very harmful and could cause the fatal disease.

The suit claimed that the company knew that its product posed a risk to workers, but continued to make asbestos containing compounds.

Settlement Reached

$20 million was given to Joan and her husband, Daniel, for her injuries and the pain and suffering that the couple has endured throughout the course of her newly developed illness.

“To our knowledge, this is one of thelargest asbestos verdicts of its kind,” explains the attorney for the couple. “The results of this trial send a clear message that companies will be held accountable for endangering innocent people.”

(Source: Business Wire)
 
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Mesothelioma – $850,000 Mesothelioma Verdict

Woman Awarded $850,000

Nov 29, 2006 | AP

 

AMcLeanCounty jury hasawarded 850-thousand dollars to a woman whose  husband died from a form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The award for Judith Blessing is the thirdMcLeanCounty lawsuit in 14 months won by plaintiffs accusing a company of conspiring to hide asbestos dangers.

The plaintiff's attorney, said Judith's husband Robert Blessing first experienced symptoms of mesothelioma in June 2005 and died in December 2005.

He worked as a builder and inspector at Union Asbestos and Rubber Company'sBloomington plant from 1953 to 1960.

The jury yesterday ordered Honeywell International Incorporated to pay150-thousand dollars in damages and 700-thousand dollars in wrongful death damages.

Jury awards in three lawsuits against Honeywell have totaled more than eleven (M) million dollars.

 

Associated Press

 
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Mesothelioma – $5.2 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Worker's Family Wins $5.2 Million Asbestos Verdict

 

Feb 24, 2004 | APA jury awarded $5.2 million in damages Tuesday to the family of a refinery worker who died of lung disease that he blamed on exposure to asbestos-laden insulation made by a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc.

The jury in El Paso County deliberated about two hours before returning the verdict against Quigley Co.

Lawyers for the family of Luis Ytuarte Sr. said during a weeklong trial that he became ill after many years of handling a powdered insulation that Quigley made to protect furnaces, pipes and boilers.

Ytuarte was an insulator, brick mason and laborer in a Phelps Dodge Corp. copper refinery inEl Paso from 1948 through the mid-1980s.

He wasdiagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure, in February 2002 and died nine months later at age 77.

A lawyer for the Ytuarte family, said Quigley officials knew about the dangers of the asbestos in the insulation for years but continued to sell the product until 1974.

"It boils down to the jury feels you have a company that chose profit over safety and worker health," said the Ytuarte family lawyer.

Thejury awarded the family $2.7 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages.

The award will be reduced by the amount that the family has received in settlements from other companies that made asbestos-containing products used at the plant,Moreno said. He estimated those settlements totaled about $500,000.

A separate lawsuit by the family against Phelps Dodge is scheduled to go to trial in October in the same courtroom of Judge Javier Alvarez.

 

Associated Press

 

February 25, 2004 -Texas jury awards asbestos victim $5.2M

 

ATexas jury has ordered an insulation manufacturer to pay the family of a deceasedrefinery worker$5.2 million in damages (Ytuarte v. Quigley Co. Inc.). The deceased worked as an insulator, mason and laborer for Phelps Dodge Refining Corp. from 1948 through the mid 1980s and frequently handled insulation, called Insulag, used on pipes, boilers and furnaces. Insulag was manufactured by Quigley Corp. The plaintiffs allege that the company knew as early as 1959 that the asbestos contained in Insulag posed a health threat but continued to manufacture and sell Insulag until 1974. The plaintiff died one year after being diagnosed with mesothelioma at age 77. The jury ordered Quigley Corp. to pay $2.706 million in compensatory damages and $2.5 million in punitive damages. Other defendants which manufactured asbestos-containing products used at the Phelps Dodge facility had previously settled their liability for $500,000. The award against Quigley will be reduced by the amount obtained in the previous settlements.

 

Associated Press, PR Leased Line on 02/24/2004

 

https://www.facworld.com/Facworld/ENVPOLL.NSF/FacWorld/February2004North%20America?OpenDocument&Ref=HotTopics

 
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Mesothelioma – $2.25 Mesothelioma Verdict 

 

$2.25 million awarded in asbestos death

Jury finds reckless disregard for safety by Fisher Controls in case of Falls man

By Matt Gryta

NEWS STAFF REPORTER

Updated: October 22, 2009, 7:17 am
Published: October 22, 2009, 12:30 am

 

ABuffalo jury has ordered a St. Louis-based supplier of industrial control valves and control systems to pay the estate of a Niagara Falls man$2.25 million for the former Hooker Chemical repairman’s death from cancer, court officials confirmed Wednesday.

Following a six-week trial, the jury held Fisher Controls financially liable for the asbestos-caused mesothelioma that killed Ronald Drabczyk. He died at 70 on Nov. 29, 2005, nine years after his retirement from the Niagara Falls plant.

Drabczyk, from 1970 through 1988, regularly repaired valves manufactured by Fisher Controls that contained asbestos gaskets and packing, trial attorneys said.

The jury found Fisher Controls had acted with reckless disregard for Drabczyk’s workplace safety, making it 100 percent financially responsible for his painful death under New York law, court officials said.

Court officials said the verdict, which includes a$750,000 punitive damages award, marks both the first time Fisher Controls has been found liable for using asbestos in its products and the first punitive damages award in a New York State asbestos case in more than 20 years.

Trial attorneys Jordan Fox of the New York firm of Belluck & Fox, Michael P. Joyce of Boston, Mass., and Cherie L. Peterson of the Buffalo firm of Lipsitz, Green, Scime and Cambria said they anticipate an appeal by Fisher Controls in an effort to cut down the jury total.

During the jury trial before State Supreme Court Justice John P. Lane, attorneys for Drabczyk established that officials of Fisher Controls, a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co., were aware of the dangers of asbestos in the workplace as early as 1946 but failed to place any warnings on their products.

“The jury’s verdict confirms that this corporation acted in a negligent and reckless manner in selling its valves without ever warning of the dangers associated with the asbestos-containing products used in these valves,” Fox said.

“Although we cannot bring Mr. Drabczyk back, we hope this verdict will send a message that these actions will not be tolerated,” added Fox, whose New York City-based firm is a major litigator of asbestos and mesothelioma cases across the nation.

mgryta@buffnews.com

http://www.buffalonews.com/2009/10/22/835561/225-million-awarded-in-asbestos.html

 

 
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Mesothelioma – $20 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Asbestos Victim wins Twenty Million over Secondary Exposure

Posted on November 16th, 2009

by Deon Scott in All News

An asbestos victim who has contracted the asbestos cancer mesothelioma haswon a massive twenty million dollars after contracting the disease through exposure to asbestos on a secondary basis. The woman, and nursing professor, is thought to have been exposed to asbestos through washing clothing.

It is claimed that she used to wash her grandfather’s clothes back in the 1960s, and this is where the secondary exposure is thought to have occurred. She went on to develop the asbestos related cancer, which can take decades to develop from the time of exposure.

Her grandfather worked as an insulator, and because asbestos was widely used in insulation in the 1960s, as well as in many other industries and applications, he would get asbestos dust and fibers on his clothing, which his granddaughter then washed.

The professor, having filed a lawsuit as a result of contracting the disease, has now beenawarded twenty million dollars as a result of her exposure according to recent reports.

http://www.bloggernews.net/122969
 
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Asbestos - $2 Million Asbestos Verdict

 

$2 million awarded in local asbestos case

Former city man blames cancer on products used in odd jobs

By CHRIS DETTRO

THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Posted Aug 17, 2009 @ 11:29 PM

Last update Aug 18, 2009 @ 12:40 AM

A Sangamon County jury last weekawarded a former Springfield postal worker and part-time handyman$2 million at the conclusion of an asbestos-exposure trial.

William Willis, who lived most of his life in the Williamsville area and on Springfield’s north end, was a night-shift U.S. Postal Service employee from 1966 until retiring in 1992. He testified during the 3 /2-week trial before Circuit Judge Pete Cavanagh that he did various odd jobs during the day, including truck and bus driving and home construction and repair in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

Willis alleged in his suit that he had used asbestos-containing pipe manufactured by CertainTeed Corp. and asbestos-containing joint compound made by Bondex International Inc. and Georgia-Pacific Corp., among others. Asbestos was phased out of the products in 1977.

Willis, now 69 and living in Arkansas, alleged that he had developed incurable pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, as a result of exposure to the asbestos. He said in his suit that the products contained no warnings concerning the asbestos content, and if there were warnings, they were inadequate.

The jury found Bondex International alone liable and awarded Willis$1.5 million in damages and his wife, Sharon Willis,$500,000 for loss of consortium. It found CertainTeed and Georgia-Pacific not to be negligent. 

The defendants argued that Willis had used their products decades ago and was mistaken about which products he actually used. Their attorneys also argued that the amount of asbestos in the defendants’ products wasn’t enough to harm, and that there was no known cause for Willis’ mesothelioma.

Other defendants either settled with Willis or were dismissed from the case prior to the verdict.
Stephen Kaufmann of the Springfield office of HeplerBroom LLC, along with other HeplerBroom colleagues, represented Georgia-Pacific, one of the three defendants who remained through trial.

“I think the jury heard a very complex case and returned a verdict that was supported by the evidence and brought justice to Mr. And Mrs. Willis,” said Jack Davis of Davis Law Offices LLC in Springfield, a member of Willis’ legal team.

Davis also praised the way Cavanagh handled the trial.

“The courtroom can be a very tough atmosphere, and when you have a level-headed, even-tempered judge who is fair to both sides, it makes the lawyers’ jobs so much easier,” he said. 

Willis’ pretrial motion asking to add a claim for punitive damages was denied.

The jury award is subject to a reduction of $1.4 million due to prior settlement amounts.

Chris Dettro can be reached at 788-1510.

Copyright 2009 The State Journal-Register. Some rights reserved

 

http://www.sj-r.com/business/x640866866/-2-million-awarded-in-local-abestos-case

 
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Honeywell International – Asbestos Company - $53.5 Million Asbestos Verdict

Honeywell Says Asbestos Verdict Was More Than It Had Disclosed

By ALEX BERENSON
Published: April 18, 2002

Honeywell International appears to have misinformed analysts and shareholders about how much of a$53.5 million verdict it is responsible for paying in the case of a man who died of a cancer caused by asbestos.

When the judgment was announced on Feb. 8 in a Manhattan court, Honeywell's stock dove as much as 11 percent during the day, shaving $3 billion off its market value. Honeywell's shares quickly rebounded after the company said it had been found liable for less than$1.1 million of the verdict, a figure that made its way into Wall Street analysts' reports. But the company's statement immediately raised questions among lawyers who had followed the case but were not involved in it. Those lawyers, who included both plaintiff and defense attorneys, said the company's true responsibility was much greater.

Honeywell now says that it must pay at least $11 million of the judgment, according to Peter M. Kreindler, its general counsel. Mr. Kreindler said Honeywell planned to appeal the verdict and had not misled investors about its size. The company does not face financially significant liability from asbestos cases, he said, and has $2 billion in asbestos insurance.

Although $11 million is minor for a company Honeywell's size, investors are nervous about Honeywell's asbestos liabilities. Last winter, investors punished the stocks of several major companies like Halliburton and 3M after a series of multimillion-dollar asbestos verdicts. The companies generally say that they do not expect the litigation to damage their financial health, but most have not discussed their liabilities in detail.

Honeywell faces about 50,000 asbestos injury claims, including nearly 1,000 claims from people suffering from the cancer in this case, mesothelioma. The North American Refractories Company, a former unit of AlliedSignal, which merged with Honeywell in 1999, made bricks that contained asbestos. That business faces an additional 116,000 asbestos claims and filed for bankruptcy in January.

In addition, Honeywell may be an especially ripe target for plaintiffs because a manager at Bendix, the Honeywell subsidiary that is the target of the suits because it makes brake linings that once contained asbestos, wrote in a 1966 letter that his response to concerns about asbestos was: ''If you have enjoyed a good life while working with asbestos products why not die from it.''

Based in Morristown, N.J., Honeywell makes everything from specialty chemicals to electronic equipment for aircraft. The company has 115,000 employees and a market value of nearly $33 billion.

The judgment in February, the largest ever for a single plaintiff in an asbestos case, was awarded to Patricia Brown, the wife of Stephen Brown. Mr. Brown, a former brake mechanic and coast guardsman, died of mesothelioma in December 2000.

The jury found Bendix 2.35 percent responsible for Mr. Brown's death. Under most circumstances, that finding would mean Honeywell is responsible for paying 2.35 percent, or $1.26 million, of the verdict under New York state law.

In his comments on the case, Thomas B. Crane, a Honeywell spokesman, emphasized the 2.35 percent figure to reporters and analysts. Mr. Crane said Honeywell's portion of the verdict ''was 2.3 percent,'' according to the Dow Jones Newswires. Bloomberg News reported that Mr. Crane had ''estimated the amount at about $1.06 million.''

Wall Street analysts who follow Honeywell accepted the company's explanation and figures.

Harriet C. Baldwin, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, wrote in a report on Feb. 11 that Honeywell's share of the case was$1.1 million and would be covered by insurance. In an interview this week, Ms. Baldwin recalled that ''that verdict was just over $1 million.'' Similarly, Phua K. Young, an analyst for Merrill Lynch, wrote, referring to the company by its stock symbol, that ''according to HON, if they are successful the possible monetary outcome for the company could be something less (possibly materially less) than the current share of $1.2 million.''

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/18/business/honeywell-says-asbestos-verdict-was-more-than-it-had-disclosed.html?pagewanted=1

 
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Missouri - $4.5 Million Asbestos Death Verdict

 

Family Gets $4.5 Million in Asbestos Suit

 

Jurors Critical Of Companies That Supplied Products

POSTED: 6:49 pm CDT June 3, 2009

UPDATED: 11:51 am CDT June 4, 2009

 

KANSAS CITY,Mo. -- The family of a man who died of mesothelioma battled three major companies and won on Wednesday in aClayCounty court.

The jury awarded the family of Robert Wagner a$4.5 million settlement in a suit that alleged that exposure toasbestos-contaminated products led to his death.

Wagner worked for years installing tiles, wood and other materials containing asbestos in buildings such asCrownCenter andKansas CityInternationalAirport. Much of the work was done before OSHA regulated construction sites for asbestos.

 

More than 30 years after working with the products Wagner died from mesothelioma, a cancer his family said he developed from exposure to the asbestos-contaminated materials.

The judgment was against Bondex International, Conwed Corporation and Simpson Timber Company.

 

After three weeks of testimony the jury found in favor of Wagner. Two jurors said the companies knew about the asbestos in the products but failed to determine how much exposure would be considered deadly.

Wagner's family declined comment as did the attorneys representing the companies.

 

Copyright 2009 by KCTV5.com. All rights reserved.

 

http://www.kctv5.com/news/19650641/detail.html

 
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Mesothelioma - $2.6 Million Death Verdict

 

JURY AWARDS $2.6 MILLION AGAINST ALLIS CHALMERS CORPORATION

By NancyGalloway on March 24, 2009 United States ofAmerica

255

JURYAWARDS $2.6 MILLION AGAINST THE ALLIS-CHALMERS CORPORATION Simon, Eddins & Greenstone, LLP and Early, Ludwick & Sweeney, LLC gains Multi-Million Dollar Verdict

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Free-Press-Release.com) March 24, 2009 --

Case Style: David H. Fortier, et al., vs. Aerco International, Inc., et al, In the Superior Court J.D. ofFairfield atBridgeport,Connecticut, No. BA 06-5005849S

 

Jury Verdict: $ 2,595,000.00 million

 

Plaintiff(s): David H. Fortier, deceased and Gail M. Fortier

 

Defendant: Allis-Chalmers Corporation

 

Verdict Date: March 10, 2009

 

Facts: David Fortier, a 59-year oldFlorida resident, suffered from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. Fortier was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006 and died from this fatal disease on June 20, 2008. Fortier was a fireman assisting machinist mates in the machinery spaces on the USS Forrestal from 1969-1972. He regularly worked on and around Allis-Chalmers pumps that contained asbestos gaskets and packing. Many of the pumps were also covered in asbestos insulation.

 

JURYAWARDS $2.6 MILLION AGAINST ALLIS CHALMERS CORPORATION

Following less than five hours of deliberations, the jury returned a$2.6 million dollar verdict in favor of the Fortier family. Thejury assessed $1,775,000.00 in non-economic damages and $820,000.00in economic damages. The jury found that the Allis-Chalmers Corporations pumps were a substantial factor in causing Dave Fortier’s death. The pumps were found to be defectively designed and the jury concluded that the company negligently failed to warn Dave Fortier and others of the inherent dangers of working with their asbestos-laden pumps.

 

“We are so happy for Gail Fortier and her family. David Fortier did exactly what he was supposed to do – he worked hard to provide for his family and served his country honorably. He had no idea that Allis-Chalmers products could hurt him. Allis-Chalmers had every to know that using their product could hurt people, people like Dave Fortier and continued to sell their pumps with no warnings. Only the jury force Allis-Chalmers to accept responsibility. On Tuesday, they unanimously decided that this company was liable for what they did to David and his family,” said Jessica Dean, lead counsel for the Fortier family.

 

Plaintiff attorneys: Jessica Dean, Eddins & Greenstone, LLP,Dallas,Texas

 

Christopher Meisenkothen, Early, Ludwick & Sweeney, LLC;New Haven,Connecticut.

 

Defense attorneys: Jeff Ment, Rome McGuigan, P.C.,HartfordConnecticut

 

Morris Borea,Rome McGuigan, P.C.,HartfordConnecticut

 

Judge: Honorable David Honorable David R.

 

Plaintiff experts: Dr. Arnold Brody (cell biologist); Captain William Lowell (Retired Navy Captain); Dr. Gary Crakes (economist); Jerald Abraham, M.D. (pathologist); and Steven Paskal (industrial hygienist).

 

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL: JESSICA DEAN (214)

 

http://www.free-press-release.com/news/200903/1237922095.html

 
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Mesothelioma - $1.4 Million Verdict

 

Former pipefitter recovers $1.4 million asbestos verdict!

2009-09-24 03:38:09 (GMT) (JusticeNewsFlash.com - Justice News Flash, Mesothelioma Asbestos)



Legal news forTennessee asbestos attorneys. The spouse of a deceased pipefitter recovered a$1.4 million verdict.

 

Tennessee Asbestos lawyers alert- Hamilton County Circuit Court awarded a$1.4 million verdict to the wife of a pipefitter who died from Mesothelioma cancer.

 

Chattanooga,TN—A Hamilton County judgeawarded a $1.4 million to the spouse of a former pipefitter who died of Mesothelioma cancer on Monday, September 21, 2009. The verdict was awarded against National Service Industries, who conducting business as North Brothers, as reported by ABC affiliate News Channel 9.

 

The case titled, Kenneth W. Jackson v. Breeding Insulation Company, Inc. et al., Hamilton County Circuit Court, Division 1, case no, 07C936, reached a decision on Monday after a seven day trial. The unanimous decision, which was reached after almost two days of deliberation, awarded Marian H. Jackson $1.4 million, who is the surviving spouse of Kenneth Jackson. From 1952-1986,Jackson worked as a pipefitter at Combustion Engineering inChattanooga, where he was continuously exposed to asbestos-containing products. Some of the asbestos-containing productsJackson came into contact with were manufactured or sold by North Brothers. Asbestos is a known toxic material to humans. Primary and secondary exposure to asbestos and asbestos containing materials can cause respiratory illnesses and fatal diseases like Mesothelioma lung cancer. There is no known level of safe exposure to asbestos.

 

The court found that Mr. Jackson was exposed to the North Brother’s products, and their products caused or contributed toJackson’s development of Mesothelioma cancer. The jury also discovered North Brothers sold defective products to the company Jackson worked for, Combustion Engineering. The other defendants, except for the North Brother’s, all settled with claimant, or were dismissed prior to the trial taking place.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news forTennessee asbestos lawyers.

 

http://www.justicenewsflash.com/2009/09/24/pipefitter-recovers-14-million-asbestos-verdict_200909242235.html

 
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California - Asbestos Company - Asbestos Lung Cancer
Judge Overturns $5.6M Award in Asbestos Case

By JEFF GORMAN 

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A couple's $5.6 million judgment in an asbestos liability case was wiped away by aCalifornia appeals court.

Edward and Carol Walton won their case for negligence and strict liability over the William Powell Co. The Waltons had contended that Edward had contracted lung cancer from asbestos-laden materials associated with valves that were made by Powell.

Walton worked with the materials during his service in the Navy from 1946 to 1968. He spent the next 31 years running a painting company, during which time he also worked with asbestos-laden products. The Waltons sued 46 defendants, but Powell was the only one remaining by the middle of the trial, and the only one ordered to pay the $5.6 million judgment.

On appeal, Justice Nora Manella ruled that Powell was not liable for Walton's injuries, and overturned the award. She ruled that Edward was injured by the asbestos insulation around Powell's valves, not by the valves themselves. "Powell supplied none of the asbestos products to which Edwards was exposed, and its valves had no defect rendering Powell liable for the injuries that Walton may have sustained through exposure to asbestos products from other sources," she wrote.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/04/26/26720.htm

 
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California – Asbestos Company - $4.2 Mesothelioma Verdict

 

Asbestos verdict nets $4.2 million; Award for San Ramon terminal cancer patient is the first involving Bakelite

Tuesday, July 30th, 2002.

By John Simerman, Contra Costa Times

A jury hasawarded a $4.2 million verdict to a cancer-stricken San Ramon man and his wife for exposure to asbestos-laden plastics when he worked at the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard.

But the man, Victor Trinchese, may see only a fraction of that money, because the jury foundUnionCarbide only partly at fault.

The 61-year-old Italian immigrant, an electrician at the shipyard from 1969 to 1980, suffers from terminal mesothelioma. The cancer affects the surface linings of the chest or abdominal cavity and has been linked to asbestos exposure.

Trinchese was diagnosed in August; he sued in October, claiming Union Carbide was negligent in manufacturing asbestos-containing Bakelite plastics in switching panels that Trinchese handled on Navy vessels at the shipyard. The company argued that there was no proof that Union Carbide produced the compounds in those panels.

ASan Francisco jury last week found the company 5 percent negligent.

The juryawarded Trinchese $1.6 million in lost income and medical expenses,$1.8 million for pain and suffering and $800,000 to his wife, Francesca, for loss of her husband’s care and comfort. But since the jury held the company only fractionally negligent, and because of earlier settlements with other defendants, the total award may be reduced to $1 million or less.

It is the first time a jury has granted a favorable verdict in a Bakelite case, said Phil Harley, Trinchese’sBerkeley attorney. Trinchese alsowon $1 million in previous settlements, Harley said.

“It’s a case that opens up new avenues of recovery for electricians, because they use this product all over the place,” Harley said.

Between 2,000 and 3,000 people in theUnited States are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma, according to the American Cancer Society. Average survival is about a year.

Doctors removed the lining of Trinchese’s left lung last year. The cancer has metastasized to his heart and right lung, Harley said.

Union Carbide completed a merger with the Dow Chemical Company in January 2001. John Brydon, Union Carbide’s attorney in the case, said he would appeal the verdict.

“We did not think there was ample evidence that he ever actually worked with a product made with the material that was produced by Union Carbide,” Brydon said.

Brydon said many companies would buy the Bakelite material in a molding compound or resin and then “add things to it, like asbestos.”

“We don’t really know what product he worked with,” Brydon said.

Bakelite was a revolutionary plastic in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Union Carbide acquired it in 1939. Not all Bakelite contains asbestos, but Harley said the switching panels that Trinchese handled were a mixture of the plastic and as much as 50 percent asbestos.

Trinchese came to theUnited States in 1967 fromNola,Italy, a small town nearNaples. After working in the shipyard, he was an electrician for thePort ofOakland until his diagnosis. He moved to San Ramon nine years ago.

“He walks with his dog, tries to keep his mind off things,” said his son, Saverio Trinchese. “The money’s nothing. He doesn’t care. He wants his health back. He wants to be what he used to be.”

Find costa link - http://www.contracostatimes.com/news
 
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Mesothelioma - $33 Mesothelioma Verdict

Asbestos Suit Brings $33-Million Jury Award

California

April 04, 2002|LISA GIRION, TIMES STAFF WRITER

 

In what is believed to be arecord asbestos injury verdict inCalifornia, aSan Francisco jury hasawarded $33.7 million in a case involving a 60-year-old former electrician with a rare and incurable form of cancer.

Alfred Todak blamed his cancer on his exposure to asbestos on several jobs from 1960 to 1976, including work around insulation and boilers aboard Navy ships and around joint compound on construction sites.

In November 2000, almost 25 years after Todak quit the electrical trade to become an international nursing recruiter, he sought treatment for shoulder pain and learned that he had mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

 

Mesothelioma, which most commonly begins in the lining of the lung, usually is discovered 15 to 40 years after initial exposure.

"This was a recognition of how terrible a disease this is and how really unfair it is to a guy like Mr. Todak," Gilbert Purcell, his lawyer, said Wednesday. "It's a recognition that people are still getting ill ... that we are not out of the woods for people who had exposures into the '70s."

Todak and his wife, Stephanie, sued more than 25 firms with ties to products that contained asbestos and to which he believes he was exposed. Theaward includes $22.7million for Todak's pain, suffering and loss of income and$11million for his wife's associated losses.

The Todaks will not receive the entire award, even if it withstands appeal, because 18 firms settled for a total of $4.2 million before the verdict, most of them before trial.

Foster Wheeler Ltd., the last defendant remaining when the case went to the jury, was held liable for 30% of thetotal verdict, or $10.6 million. TheNew Jersey design, engineering and construction firm said it will appeal the verdict. The company said Todak failed to present credible evidence that he was exposed to one of the company's naval boilers, as he had charged.

The largest jury verdict in a single-victim asbestos case came last August. ATexas jury awarded $55.5 million to a former home-building worker who blamed his mesothelioma on the asbestos in a Kelly-Moore Paint Co. joint compound he was exposed to on construction sites in the 1970s.

InCalifornia, the previousrecord verdict was $20.5 million awarded a year ago to a man who blamed his mesothelioma on a career in aStockton plant that made pipe containing asbestos.

A fire-retardant mineral fiber prized as a cheap source of insulation and filler, asbestos has been used in thousands of products, from floor tiles to automotive brakes. More than 550,000 lawsuits have been filed since the 1970s against companies that made, used or sold asbestos or products that contained it, contributing to the bankruptcies of more than 50 firms.

The Todak decision was the first against Foster Wheeler, which has attempted to settle claims where victims show evidence of injury and exposure to a company product. It has fought claims from people who are not sick or cannot prove exposure.

Through the end of 2001, more than 300,000 claims against the company had been closed without payment, and 220,000 had been settled, a company spokesman said. Foster Wheeler had 110,000 claims pending at the end of the year.

Among the companies that settled with Todak was Viacom Inc., which picked up its asbestos liabilities through its acquisition of the former Westinghouse Corp. Viacom agreed to pay Todak$1 million. The entertainment giant spent$21 million on asbestos settlements and defense last year and disposed of about 60,000 claims, according to its latest annual report. Viacom had 106,000 claims pending at the end of 2001.

http://articles.latimes.com/2002/apr/04/business/fi-asbestos4
 
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 Mesothelioma - Mesothelioma Verdict

 

MESOTHELIOMA CASE ROUNDUP

March 2010

Juries have returnedverdicts totaling tens of millions of dollars in three recentmesothelioma cases.

The unidentified families of twoPennsylvania men who died from the asbestos-related disease wereawarded $17 millionagainst Crane Co. andGarlock Sealing Technologies. In another case, JayneMenssen, who worked as a secretary from 1967-69 at an Illinois asbestos fabrication facility,won a $17.87 million judgmentlast month againstPneumoAbex, LLC, Honeywell International and their predecessors.

In a take-home contamination case, aMaryland jury awarded Leroy Conway, Jr., 45, atotal of $9.94 million for exposure to asbestos in his pre-teen years, when his father worked as an engineman on an oil tanker and carried asbestos home on his clothes. The verdict went against the ship’s owner-operator, ATTRANSCO, Inc. 

 

http://www.pattonboggs.com/newsletters/insights/Release/insights_2010_03.htm#20

 
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Mesothelioma – $9 Million Dollar Asbestos Wrongful Death Verdict

San Francisco Jury Awards 9,057,775 for Wrongful Death

On November 19, 2008, aSan Francisco jury awarded a total of $9,057,775 to the widow, sons and daughter of twopipefitters who died of an asbestos cancer. The jury rendered their verdict against Plant Insulation Company, formerly known as Plant Asbestos Company.

Jolene Mudgett, the daughter of Joseph Sandra, wasawarded $1,250,000 for the death of her father, who succumbed to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungswhose only established caused is that of inhaled exposure to asbestos fibers. Mr. Sandra was 87 years old at the time of his death. Mr. Sandra is survived by his daughter, Jolene Mudgett, his son, John Sandra, and his wife, Molly Sandra.

Plant Insulation Company was theNorthern California exclusive supplier of asbestos-containing pipecover, block and asbestos cement products, made by Fiberboard Corporation, known as "Pabco." Plant Insulation Company was a major industrial insulating contractor that exposed Mr. Sandra at a number of bay area oil refineries from 1955 to 1975. The jury found that Plant Insulation Company was found liable for failing to warn Mr. Sandra about the unsafe insulation products he was exposed to. Plant Insulation company was found to be 18% at fault, with other manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of asbestos products, who were not present at the trial, found to be 82% at fault in causing Mr. Sandra's mesothelioma. Co-worker and eye-witness James Szuch testified for the Plaintiffs.

Franklin Yancey died of mesothelioma at the age of 68 at theUniversity ofTexas,M.D.AndersonCancerCenter, inHouston,Texas. He was survived by his wife of 25 years, Janice Yancey, and two adult sons, Jeff Yancey and Monte Yancey. The juryawarded $7,807,775 in damages. Mr. Yancey worked atSan Francisco oil refineries in the bay area in the 1960s, and his two adult sons followed in the footsteps of their father. Mr. Yancey's co-worker and eye-witness, Vern Gosney, testified for the Yancey family. Plant Insulation company was found to be 10% at fault, with other manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of asbestos products, who were not present at the trial, found to be 90% at fault in causing Mr. Sandra's mesothelioma.

Plaintiff's expert witnesses included Charles Ay, a career insulator and pipefitter, Dr. Barry Horn, a pulmonologist from Berkeley, California; Dr. Richard Cohen, a physician who testified regarding the state-of-the-art, from Saratoga, California; Dr. Brian Dolan, a Southern California internist; John Templin, an industrial hygienist and materials analyst from Long Beach, California; Dr. Allan Smith, an epidemiologist from Berkeley, California, and Dr. Barry Ben-Zion, an economist from Santa Rosa, California.

http://www.mesotheliomaasbestoshelpcenter.com/legal-options-and-rights/mesothelioma-verdicts.html#Janice-Yancey-and-Jolene-Mudgett-vs.-Plant-Insulation-Company

 
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Mesothelioma - $12 Million Verdict Mesothelioma Death

Family of mill worker who died from asbestos exposure awarded $2 million

ByBobbyKerlik
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, February 3, 2010

AnAlleghenyCountyjury awarded the family of aPlum man who died from asbestos exposure $2 million.

Thejury returned a $50 million verdict last week in favor of the BarryBaumener estate and against 25 companies named as defendants after a two-week trial. All of the companies except one —Oglebay Norton Co. of Ohio and its division, Ferro Engineering — settled out of court,Baumener's attorney, John Kane, said.

Ferro will have topay $2 million because the jury ordered each of the 25 defendants to pay 4 percent of the total. The 24 companies who settled out of court are immune to the jury's verdict.

Attorneys for Ferro could not be reached for comment.

Baumener was diagnosed withmesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, in April and died in October. He was 62, Kane said.

Baumener worked for Carpenter Technology, a steel mill inReading. He sued several companies in May, including Ferro, alleging that the company sold asbestos-containing products to the mill where he worked.

Baumener and his wife, Marsha, moved from theirReading home into his daughter'sPlum home after his diagnosis.

"I think the jury understood the severity of the injury and the devastation on the entire family," Kane said.

Kane declined to say how much the family settled for in the other cases but said it was far less than $50 million.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_665362.html

 
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Asbestosis Verdict - $15 Million Asbestos Verdict

Laurel man awarded $15M-plus verdict

Jury finds asbestos caused lung disease

Laurel,Mississippi - April 9, 2010 -Laurel Leader-Call

LAUREL — ALaurel man will receive more than$15 million from a personal injury lawsuit placed against CPChem, a division ofConoco Phillips Corp.

A Jones County Circuit Court jury Wednesday returned a$15.2 million verdict for Troy Lofton, 71, a longtime employee of the oil and well drilling industry. The trial lasted eight days.

J. Robert Sullivan, Sr., one of Lofton’s attorneys, said Thursday that Lofton was diagnosed in 2004 was asbestosis, a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos.

Sullivan, a Laurel-based attorney with Sullivan & Sullivan, P.L.L.C., said CPChem knowingly shipped a product containing asbestos for 20 years that was used in the oil and gas well drilling industry. He said Lofton and others were exposed to the product calledFlosal, which was poured from 50 pound sacks into a hopper to mix it.

“The dust was enveloping these workers,” he said. “There’s no way the body expels those asbestos fibers because they are so tiny. Once they get into the lungs, they’re just there. In some people, it even causes them to seize.”

Sullivan said that he was able to prove in court thatConoco Phillips and CPChem had information thatFlosal was harmful.

“They were still selling it to these oil well sites until 1985 when they quit,” he said.

Sullivan noted that asbestos fibers can lie dormant in the body for sometimes up to 40 years.

“That’s why they’re just getting sick with it now,” he said. “Asbestosis is a condition that causes the lungs to lose their ability to be elastic-like. They are filled with scar tissue and the person loses their ability to breath.”

As a result, Lofton remains on oxygen 24 hours a day, Sullivan said.

Lofton’s case would be bad enough on its own, but there are many other cases throughout Jones, Smith and Jefferson Davis counties.

“These cases are just now starting to be tried inMississippi, but there’s been a lot of this same litigation inTexas in the past,” Sullivan said. “This is one of very few asbestos cases that have ever been tried inJonesCounty.”

Attempts to reach attorneys representingConoco Phillips Corp. were unsuccessful as of press time.

http://leadercall.com/local/x1687704245/Laurel-man-awarded-15M-plus-verdict

 
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Mesothelioma - $7 Mesothelioma Verdict

ASBESTOS JUDGMENTS COST DUPONT $7 MILLION CHEMICAL GIANT LOSES THREE OF FIVE CLAIMS


Publication: THECHARLESTON GAZETTE
Published: 03/06/2002
Page: 1C
Headline: ASBESTOS JUDGMENTS COST DUPONT $7 MILLION CHEMICAL GIANT LOSES THREE OF FIVE CLAIMS
Byline: LAWRENCE MESSINA

larrym@wvgazette.com

Leonard Dale Cox was chief executive officer of the Bank of Gassaway when doctors told him that asbestos was about to kill him.

Cox, 52, had never worked with the heat- and fire-resistant fibers. Nonetheless, they had coated his lungs enough to promptmesothelioma, an inoperable form of lung cancer.

Doctors soon found the fibers' origin: Cox's father. Cecil Cox had installed asbestos insulation at DuPont's Belle plant from the 1940s until his 1970s retirement. Each day, he brought the fibers home in his work clothes and coveralls.

Leonard Cox died in 2000. He was 53. His survivors blame DuPont for his fatal illness. A Kanawha Circuit jury agreed with them last week, and ordered DuPont to pay$6.4 million.

Thatverdict includes $1.7 million for Cox's lost earnings,$2 million for Cox's widow and$300,000 to each of their two children for their loss, another $2 million for his pain and suffering and$118,000 for medical bills.


The jury also awarded $600,000 to the widow of a DuPont laborer and mechanic. DuPont intentionally exposed RoyLupardis to asbestos, the jury found, because the chemical giant knew of the fibers' negative effects throughoutLupardis' 35 years at the Belle plant.

"The jury in this case found that the employer, DuPont, acted with 'deliberate intent,'" William Schwartz, a lawyer forLupardis' widow, said Tuesday. "I think that was a significant finding."

But the jury rejected a similar claim from the family of another longtime DuPont worker. RobertPritt had worked at the Belle plant from the 1940s until 1959. He died ofmesothelioma last year.

The jury also refused to blame DuPont for the lung cancer that killed Page Humphreys. His survivors linked his exposure to his stint as a union contract worker at DuPont'sParkersburg plant in 1960.

But the jury awarded $24,800 to a second contract worker. BernardBelville blames the asbestos-related thickening of the lining of his lungs on his 10 weeks at the Belle plant.

The jury reached its various verdicts Friday, capping a three-week trial before a pair of judges assigned all asbestos-related claims.

The case originally involved more than 60 plaintiffs and a number of companies. All but the five claims against DuPont settled before the trial's opening statements.

Asbestos claims generally allege that the companies that made, used or installed the fibrous material had known for decades of its health hazards, but suppressed that knowledge until the 1970s.

The state workers' compensation system normally handles injury claims against employers. Workers must clear a series of legal hurdles when they file suit against employers, as in the case ofLupardis andPritt.

Senior Judge AndrewMacQueen and Ohio County Circuit Judge MartinGaughan presided over the trial, which was held at the Robert C. Byrd United States Courthouse to accommodate the number of lawyers involved.

The jury started deliberating Thursday afternoon and returned its verdicts Friday evening.

To contact staff writer Lawrence Messina, use e-mail or call 348-4869.

http://www.harvitschwartz.com/Newspaper%20articles/ASBESTOS%20JUDGMENTS%20COST%20DUPONT.htm
 
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 Mesothelioma - $1.68 Mesothelioma Verdict

Maryland appeals court upholds $1.68M asbestos verdict

Daily Record,The (Baltimore), Jan 4, 2010 byCarynTamber

A$1.68 million award in an asbestos case can stand, the state's second-highest court has held.

The Court of Special Appeals rejected several arguments by the two companies held liable for Carl L.Saville'smesothelioma and carcinoma, including their contention that the trial judge improperly denied their motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

The court held that Saville, a former paper mill worker, presented enough evidence at trial to support a finding that the asbestos-containing products with which he worked caused his illnesses.

"The evidence in this case, taken in a light most favorable toappellee, does not lead to the inexorable conclusion thatScapa [Dryer Fabrics] was not liable and therefore gives us no reason to overturn the trial court's decision to denyScapa's motions for judgment or JNOV," Judge Albert J.Matricciani Jr. wrote for a three- judge panel.

There was enough evidence thatScapa's dryer felts would discharge asbestos, that Saville worked with the product and that he was exposed to it for a long enough period of time,Matricciani wrote.

David J. Shuster ofKramon & Graham P.A., who representedScapa on appeal, declined to comment beyond saying that the company is "evaluating its options." Susan E. Smith ofCrosswhite,Limbrick & Sinclair LLP, who represented the other company, the Wallace & Gale Asbestos Settlement Trust, did not return a call for comment.

Michael T. Edmonds of the Law Offices of Peter T.Nicholl, who argued the case for Saville, said he expects the companies to petition the Court of Appeals for certiorari.

Edmonds said he is gratified that the Court of Special Appeals accepted his contention that there was "plenty of evidence" to support the theory thatScapa andW&G's products causedSaville's illnesses.

This is the second timeSaville's case has gone to the Court of Special Appeals. In 2005, the appellate court reversed a$3 million verdict, holding thatScapa should have been granted a continuance to conduct additional discovery, since it was added as a defendant only six months before trial.

The case went back to trial, again producing a substantial verdict.

Saville's medical situation is also unusual, according to his lawyer. About 90 percent of people diagnosed withmesothelioma, an asbestos-linked cancer, die within five years, according to the American Cancer Society. Saville was diagnosed in 2001 or 2002.

Edmonds said Saville, now 66, was diagnosed with lung cancer first, and when doctors went to treatit, they discovered and treated themesothelioma as well. Saville is in pain, but his tumors are not growing discernibly,Edmonds said.

"Mr. Saville is the only person I'm aware of that's survived this long,"Edmonds said.

According to the opinion, Saville worked at the Westvaco Pulp and Paper Mill inLuke,Md. from 1964 to 1978. He was responsible for cleaning dryer fells, which are used in paper production.

After he developed cancer, he suedScapa and W&G. He also filed suit against three other parties but settled with them before trial.

At the second trial,Scapa and W&G presented a limited case against the other defendants, eager to minimize their own liability but afraid that proving that the cross-defendants' products contributed toSaville's injuries would imply that their products did, too. This produced what the Court of Special Appeals called "a rather unusual trial on the cross-claims with no one to defend them, during which appellants simply read evidence into the record."

After the verdict,Scapa moved for JNOV onSaville's claims and on its cross-claims against the three defendants that settled, and W&G moved for JNOV just on the cross-claims. Judge John M. Glynn denied both motions.

On the cross-claim issue, the Court of Special Appeals held that Saville andW&G's motion had to fail because they had not moved for judgment at any point during trial, a prerequisite for a JNOV motion.

The appellate court also rejectedScapa's argument that Glynn should have reduced the judgment to account for payments Saville received from bankruptcy settlement trusts. The company had argued that the trusts were joint tort-feasors, necessitating a reduction in the judgment, because they dispense funds in compensation for damages allegedly caused by asbestos.

"Scapa presents an interesting theory, and there is some support in case law for this proposition, but there is no evidence on the record that can support its application to this case,"Matricciani wrote. "The burden was onScapa to prove joint tort-feasor status of any claimed bankruptcy settlement trusts, and this was not done."

The appellate court also dismissed other claims byScapa, including its contentions that Glynn improperly excluded deposition testimony ofSaville's former co-worker on possible alternate exposure to asbestos and that the judge should not have admitted evidence from afterSaville's asbestos exposure.

WHAT THE COURT HELD

Case:Scapa Dryer Fabrics Inc. et al., CSA No. 540, Sept. Term 2008.Reported. Opinion byMatricciani, J. Filed Dec. 29, 2009.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4183/is_20100104/ai_n46534448/

 
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Asbestos - $1.4 Million Asbestos Verdict

Former Combustion Worker Wins $1.4 Million Asbestos Verdict

September 22, 2009 1:32 PM - newschannel9.com

Monday afternoon aHamiltonCounty jury returned a record $1.4 million dollar verdict against National Service Industries, doing business as North Brothers. The trial was believed to be only the second asbestos trial in the state ofTennessee in the last 15 years or so. The verdict is believed to be the first asbestos verdict rendered against North Brothers in any state.

The case – officially titled Marian H. Jackson, individually and as surviving spouse of Kenneth W. Jackson v. Breeding Insulation Company, Inc. et al., Hamilton County Circuit Court, Division 1, case no. 07C936 – was tried over the course of seven days. The jury of twelve then deliberated for almost two days before reaching its unanimous decision. All of the other defendants in the case except for North Brothers either settled with the plaintiff or else were dismissed prior to the trial.

Mr. Wayne Jackson worked as apipefitter at Combustion Engineering inChatanooga from 1952-1986. During that time he was repeatedly exposed to asbestos-containing products, some of which were manufactured or sold by North Brothers. The jury found that North Brothers sold defective products to CombustionEngineering, that Mr. Jackson was exposed to North Brothers’ products, and that North Brothers’ products caused or contributed to Mr. Jackson’s development ofmesothelioma (a rare form of cancer that is uniquely associated with asbestos exposure).

Among others, testifying on behalf of the plaintiffs during the trial were Jerrold Abraham, M.D. (a world renowned pathologist from SUNY), RichardLemen, Ph.D. (an epidemiologist and former deputy director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), and Bruce Hutchinson, Ph.D. (a U.T.C. economist). The only witness who testified for North Brothers was William Dyson (an industrial hygienist).

Mrs. Jackson and theJackson family were represented by attorney Jimmy Rodgers with the law firm of Summers & Wyatt inChattanooga, along with attorneysRettGuerry and Ben Cunningham from the Motley Rice law firm out ofCharleston,South Carolina.

According to Mr. Rodgers: “We are very appreciative of the service by the individual jurors, and that they took their time to consider the evidence. Our main regret is that the jury had no means to bring Mr. Jackson back to his wife and family.”

Added Mr. Rodgers: “This verdict represents a milestone victory for asbestos victims – not only for Combustion retirees in theChattanooga area, but also for all people exposed to asbestos throughoutTennessee and theChattanooga metropolitan area as well. Hopefully this verdict wills send a signal to asbestos manufacturers and suppliers that the days of getting away with knowingly exposingTennessee citizens and workers to poisonous and defective products is over.”

http://74.125.155.132/search?q=cache:F19VpxZ4Up0J:www.newschannel9.com/articles/verdict-984879-asbestos-million.html+1+Million+Asbestos+Verdict&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

 
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Texas – $11 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Texas Mesothelioma Asbestos Lawsuit Results in $11M Verdict

AboutLawsuits.com | April 2nd, 2010 at 9:31 am

ATexas painter has beenawarded $11 million in amesothelioma asbestos lawsuit againstBondex, Union Carbide and other manufacturers whose parts allegedly contained cancer-causing asbestos. 

A jury inDallas handed down the verdict on March 30 in favor of Vernon Walker and his wife, Patsy Walker. According to a press release issued by attorneys representing the couple,Walker was diagnosedwithmesothelioma cancer after working as a career painter in the construction industry.

Walker worked as a union painter on skyscrapers and other construction projects. The defendants in theasbestos exposure lawsuit said that the types of asbestosWalker had been exposed to, includingchrysotile andcalidria, do not cause asbestos-related cancer.

The $11 million verdict apportioned 40% of the liability forWalker’s cancer to Union Carbide, and the rest of the blame was divided among defendants that included product manufacturersBondex, Kelly Moore and Georgia Pacific. However, all of the defendants exceptBondex settled out of court before a verdictwas reached.

Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The only known cause ofmesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and it is often not diagnosed until decades after exposure. As a result of the long latency period, the cancer is very advanced when it is diagnosed and life expectancy with the disease is limited.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s. Despite the ban, the U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the number ofmesothelioma deaths continues to rise each year due to the latency period, with the number expected to peak in 2010.

Asbestosmesothelioma lawsuits are the longest running mass tort inU.S. history, with the first asbestos exposure case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed withmesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.

http://www.ethiopianreview.com/news/52088

 
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Mesothelioma Verdict – $25.2 Million Verdict

Philadelphia Asbestos Verdict - $25.2 million

The Legal Intelligencer – March 20, 2008

The Legal Intelligencer reports that after a reverse-bifurcated trial, aPhiladelphia jury awarded $25.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to compensate for malignant mesothelioma deaths. Plaintiffs in the three cases requestedKentucky law; two settled after the compensatory damage phase. According to plaintiffs’ attorneys,Kentucky law ultimately permitted the jury to award higher punitive damages than it could underPennsylvania law. Here’s an excerpt:

His case,Baccus v. Crane Co., was brought against the Crane Co., John Crane and Yarway, a company. The defendants sought to haveKentucky law apply to the jury's findings inBaccus and the judge agreed. The jury had previously awarded $7 million in compensatory damages to Baccus and apportioned liability in the amount of 45 percent against John Crane, 35 percent against Crane Co. and 20 percent against Yarway, Shein said.

The jury, applyingKentucky law, also found Yarway and Crane Co. "grossly negligent for failure to warn of the dangers of asbestos in reckless disregard of the safety of others," Shein said. The jurors assessed $11.9 million in punitive damages against Crane Co. and $6.3 million against Yarway.

Shein said this is the first case inPhiladelphia he has seen in more than 20 years in which a jury awarded punitive damages in an asbestos case. He said the standard for applying such damages in an asbestos case inPennsylvania is "much, much higher." He saidPennsylvania usually defers the finding of punitive damages until later in the case whereasKentucky law instructs the court to do it sooner.

The defendants, Shein said, wanted to apply Kentucky law because it uses an apportioned liability standard in which each of the defendants, even those who previously settled, are given an individual portion of liability. ThePennsylvania model is more akin to "in for a penny, in for a pound," Shein said, in which each defendant splits the damages equally.

"The thing kind of backfired on them because the jury held all of the settled defendants zero-percent responsible," he said.

The defendants that settled before the compensatory damages phase of the trial were Ingersoll Rand, THAN, IMO/DeLaval, Westinghouse, OwensIllinois and Goulds Pumps.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/03/philadelphia-as.html

 
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Asbestos Cancer - 30.3 Million Asbestos Award

State court affirms $30.3M award to
GlenRidge family

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BY KIBRET MARKOS

The Record - STAFF WRITER

A state appeals court has affirmed a $30.3 million personal-injury award to the family of a deceased Glen Ridge executive who sued his former employer for asbestos exposure.

Mark Buttitta, who worked part-time at an auto parts warehouse in Englewood in the 1970s, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and died a year later at age 50.

His family later filed a lawsuit, saying he was exposed to asbestos from the brakes and clutches stored at the warehouse, which was run by General Motors. They also sued the companies manufacturing and supplying the clutches.

A jury in Superior Court in Hackensack found in a February 2008 verdict that Buttitta’s cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos at the warehouse. Several defendants, including GM, had settled their claim with the Buttitta family.

Borg-Warner, which supplies clutches, and asbestos mining company Asbestos Corporation Ltd. of Canada, are responsible for paying the judgment.

The companies appealed the verdict, which was upheld in a 73-page opinion by an appellate panel on Monday.

Donald MacLachlan, the attorney for the Buttitta family, said the total amount has now reached close to $40 million because of post-judgment interest.
 

A state appeals court has affirmed a$30.3 million personal-injury award to the family of a deceasedGlenRidge executive who sued his former employer for asbestos exposure.

Mark Buttitta, who worked part-time at an auto parts warehouse inEnglewood in the 1970s, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001 and died a year later at age 50.

His family later filed a lawsuit, saying he was exposed to asbestos from the brakes and clutches stored at the warehouse, which was run by General Motors. They also sued the companies manufacturing and supplying the clutches.

A jury in Superior Court inHackensack found in a February 2008 verdict that Buttitta’s cancer was caused by his exposure to asbestos at the warehouse. Several defendants, including GM, had settled their claim with the Buttitta family.

Borg-Warner, which supplies clutches, and asbestos mining company Asbestos Corporation Ltd. ofCanada, are responsible for paying the judgment.

The companies appealed the verdict, which was upheld in a 73-page opinion by an appellate panel on Monday.

Donald MacLachlan, the attorney for the Buttitta family, said the total amount has now reached close to $40 million because of post-judgment interest.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/040610_State_court_affirms_303M_award_to_Glen_Ridge_family.html

 
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Eternit asbestos trial opens in Italy

Dec 10, 2009 -

Eternit asbestos trial opens in ItalyAFP – Cesare Zaccone, laywer of Swiss Stephan Schmidheiny (L) and prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello pose on the …

TURIN,Italy (AFP) – Two top former shareholders in the Swiss building materials firm Eternit went on trial Thursday for alleged negligence leading to more than 2,000 deaths inItaly from asbestos-related diseases.

Victims' relatives flocked the courthouse inTurin,northernItaly, as the long-awaited trial began following a five-year investigation.

So far 700 people have joined a class-action suit in connection with the trial, but victims' associations say the number could rise to 2,000.

Eternit's ex-owner, Swiss billionaireStephan Schmidheiny, and former top executive Jean-Louis de Cartier, a Belgian baron, are being tried in absentia.

Prosecutors accuse them of bearing ultimate responsibility for breaches in work safety rules that led to the deaths of more than 2,000 people and sickened several hundred others.

The court provided three extra rooms for the public to follow the hearing on closed-circuit television.

The victims -- who include employees as well as the residents of four Italian cities where the group had factories -- are expected to seek several hundred million euros (dollars) in compensation.

Many illnesses or deaths were caused by Eternit's asbestos-based products such as home insulation, the plaintiffs charge.

The two defendants, whose lawyers say they have no direct responsibility in the case, face three to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say it is the biggest trial ever held on the effects of exposure to blue asbestos, a highly dangerous fibrous mineral that was banned inItaly in 1992.

"It's a world first. This trial will determine whether thejudicial system is capable of handling such a complex case," said Jean-Paul Teissonniere, a French lawyer representing plaintiffs.

Schmidheiny has already reached an out-of-court settlement with some 1,500 people.

Eternit'sItalian subsidiary went bankrupt in 1986, six years before asbestos was banned in the country over health concerns.

"I hope for a little bit of justice and that this will be an example," said Paola Bastianello, whose father, an Eternit employee, died in 1984.

Another plaintiff, Maria Assunta Prato, told AFP her husband died aged 49 simply from exposure to an Eternit product. "It's a terrible tragedy. We hope... they will be convicted for what they've done."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091210/bs_afp/italyswitzerlandbelgiumfranceasbestostrial_20091210181333
 
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Appeals court overturns $24 million asbestos verdict

BY CHRIS RIZO - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 01, 2009 10:15:00 AM

 

MIAMI (Legal Newsline)-A Florida appeals court last week reversed a $24.2 million product liability verdict, overturning a jury award to a Weston,Fla., surgeon who claimed exposure to asbestos-containing brake pads caused his cancer.

On Wednesday, in an unsigned opinion, a panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in Dr. Stephen Guilder's case against Honeywell International, the parent company of Bendix, which made the brake pads that were blamed for causing his fatal cancer.

Guilder, a head and neck surgeon, died from peritoneal mesothelioma -- a cancer of the abdominal lining -- in September at 52-years-old.

In April 2008, aMiami-DadeCounty jury awarded him and his family $24.2 million because Honeywell was negligent in selling the chrysotile asbestos-containing pads.

As a teenager, Guilder worked with asbestos-containing brake pads on his stepfather's farm in the 1970s and '80s.

After trial, Honeywell moved for a new trial. Honeywell also moved to alter or amend the judgment and for collateral source setoff. Miami-Dade County Judge Richard Fede denied all post-trial motions. Honeywell appealed to the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

The appeals court found that Feder had erred by refusing to redact portions of a letter from a Bendix employee to an asbestos supplier that was determined to be prejudicial to Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell.

The $24 million jury verdict included a $10.4 million award for Guilder's children for loss of parental consortium.

The three-member appeals court panel found that the children were not entitled to loss of consortium damages because the law only applied to negligent acts after Oct. 1, 1988, and Guilder's last known exposure to asbestos was 1982.

"Therefore, we find that the loss of consortium damage award was improper," the appeals panel ruled.

http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/223770-appeals-court-overturns-24-million-asbestos-verdict

 
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New Trial Ordered In Nye Asbestos Case
posted October 16, 2009

Three judges of the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled unanimously Wednesday that the family of a former DuPont retiree who died from mesothelioma is entitled to a new trial because of errors in how the trial court instructed the jury on the law.

After a two-week trial in Hamilton County Circuit Court in the Spring of 2008, the jury returned a verdict that was favorable in part to the family of the late Hugh Todd Nye’s family. However, the jury ultimately ruled in favor of the defendant, North Brothers, due, according to the Court of Appeals, instructions from the judge.

The case is Evelyn Nye, individually and as surviving spouse of Mr. Nye v. Bayer Cropscience and others.

According to the 22-page opinion by the Court of Appeals, Mr. Nye worked at the DuPont facility inChattanooga from 1948-1985. Although numerous companies were originally involved in the lawsuit, the only defendant left in the case at the time of trial was North Brothers, an asbestos products supplier to DuPont.

Mrs. Nye and the Nye family are represented by attorney Jimmy Rodgers with the law firm of Summers & Wyatt inChattanooga, along with attorneys John Guerry and Benjamin Cunningham from the Motley Rice law firm ofCharleston,S.C.

North Brothers was represented by attorneys Hugh Bright, Michael King, and Robert Vance from the Woolf McClane firm out ofKnoxville.

http://www.chattanoogan.com/articles/article_161083.asp

 
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The Alcoa Precedent

Tuesday, 01 September 2009 20:39Stephen Dupree

 

Your right to be safe from the hazardous materials an employee might unknowingly leave work with were established with diligence and at a cost.
One family’s loss and their attorney’s perseverance led to the Supreme Court ruling that established an employer’s “duty of care.” On 9/9/08 Greg Coleman’s efforts resulted in a precedent that we all now have to live with. Will it stand the test of time?

Few things can affect a parent like the thought of having to bury their child. Imagine it is your child and that their death was caused by something you did. Even if those actions were taken with the best of intentions, such an outcome could render the most stoic adult, completely inconsolable. On January 1, 2005, Amanda Nicole Satterfield, the oldest child of Doug and Donna Satterfield, died from issues related to mesothelioma.  Caused exclusively by asbestos exposure, the source of that exposure is the contentious issue discussed in the interview below. For 33 years, beginning in 1973, Doug Satterfield was employed by Alcoa. It was considered to be a “catch” of a job in that the pay and benefits were above average for the area. Unfortunately for the Satterfields, the amount of asbestos was also above average.

In 1972, OSHA promulgated regulations prohibiting employees who had been exposed to asbestos from taking their clothes home to be laundered. The apparent decision by Alcoa to ignore that regulation brought tragedy and untold pain to this family.  For Doug, it was the dual horrors of having to bury his child and, finding out that he was the vehicle that delivered the instrument of her death. Amanda was born 3 months premature. Her initial existence was as much of a struggle as her last days. Dutiful parents, Doug and Donna visited their fragile offspring every day with Doug showing up as soon as possible after work. Within the settings of hospital, they treated their daughter as much like any other infant as possible. They held her, fed her, burped her and changed her. They spent as much time as possible as close as possible to their daughter. But due to Alcoa’s alleged non-compliance with the ‘72 OSHA reg., Doug’s clothes and hair held the dust he accumulated during his work day. The nature of his work, the nature of the plant, made it inevitable that much of that dust was asbestos.  Even though he wore a hospital gown when handling his child, there was plenty of opportunity for her to be exposed to the dust in his hair.

It is said that a single asbestos fiber can cause mesothelioma in those who are susceptible. The Satterfield’s tiny, frail child was indeed, susceptible. Some 22 years later, that susceptibility manifested itself in the form of the deadly disease.  Cityview Magazine, with the help of one of the Satterfield’s attorneys, Greg Coleman, interviewed the family about their ordeal in trying to make sure that no other parents find themselves in this situation.

Was Amanda your first child?
Doug: Yes, she was born September 7, 1979 atBlountMemorialHospital here inMaryville.

What was your routine like?
Doug: She was 3 months premature.  I was working in the box shop at Alcoa.  The routine was for Donna to get up in the morning and go to the hospital and she’d come home about the time I would get home and we would both go visit Amanda, with me still in my work clothes, and stay till 10 or 11 o’clock at night.

What would you do with Amanda once you got to the hospital.
Doug: They encouraged you to hold your baby, feed and burp them. We did all that. Of course back then I had long hair, it was the style. I would put her on my shoulder and burp her like anyone else would, and I know that’s where most of the exposure came from.

How often did you visit her?
Donna: Every day for three months. We never missed a day. I went in the morning for first feeding. Doug got home at around 2:30 and we’d both come back and stay until they ran us off around 11 p.m.

After Amanda was home, did you continue to work with asbestos?

Doug: Yes, but back then we didn’t know it was asbestos. The entire time I worked at Alcoa, I was never advised about the presence of asbestos. We now know that the lining in the pots was asbestos and that is what we were cleaning all the time.
 
Did you ever think that the dust on your clothes could be hazardous?
Doug:No. We would wash our hands and wear paper gowns over our clothes before we could go back and see her, but the dust would be in my hair. I know that for a fact.

Was Doug really that dusty?
Donna: Doug was always very dusty after work. His clothes, his hair, everything about him was dusty. When he would move and undress before showering, dust would fly off. I did all our clothes in the same washroom, but I would always keep Doug’s clothes separate.

Tell us a little bit about your work environment including any health risks.
Doug: There was asbestos on the pipes over head. It would fall onto the floor and on the break tables. We didn’t have break rooms, just break tables. The tables were so covered with dust in the mornings they would have to be cleaned off. I worked around all areas at all 3 plants and there was asbestos in each area. I worked as a mechanic.  Part of a job might be to tear out the asbestos and replace it—making the fibers airborne.

When was she first diagnosed?
Doug: In 2002 she went for a regular check-up feeling fine and the gynecologist found a hard spot in her abdominal area. I was having knee surgery that day and she called us and told us they had found a place and wanted her to go to an oncologist. They scheduled her for surgery and that’s when they found out she had mesothelioma.

Had you ever heard of mesothelioma?
Doug: No, we actually thought mesothelioma was a good thing because we expected cervical cancer. Then we found out what mesothelioma was.  When the doctor told us her diagnosis, we immediately came home and looked up anything we could find on mesothelioma.  Everything we found out was bad—it was a death sentence.

When did you learn of the link with asbestos?
Doug: That day researching. I didn’t connect asbestos and Alcoa though because everything you hear about Alcoa is they’re safety-minded and they’ll take care of you. Their image in the community is that they’re heroes, they give money to different things. Alcoa would never do this. The more we dug into it, the more we found it was all lies.

What was your reaction?
Donna: I heard that asbestos was very, very bad, and to know that my husband and my child were in this kind of danger, it was scary. It made us both very angry and the more we learned, the angrier we got.
Doug: I found out when Donna called me at work. She was hysterical. She said Alcoa caused the asbestos exposure. She was so upset I had to leave work to come home. She told me what she had found out and I broke down.  I had no idea I had been working in asbestos.  I thought how could this be possible. But the more we dug into it, it was like putting pegs in a hole.  It all answered itself.

What was Amanda’s reaction?
Doug: She didn’t care as long as her dream came true. She always wanted to be married and have children, just like her mother and I. That was her dream, she didn’t have any big pictures. She liked theatre and opera, but then again she was a country girl.  She had no ambitions of being anything but a simple housewife.  That was her concern, “as long as I can still have children.”  But her first surgery killed that dream.

What was her treatment process like?
Doug:We had trouble finding a private doctor who could treat mesothelioma. The surgical oncologist gave us a medical doctor that specialized in cancer. You can’t find one in this area that knows how to treat mesothelioma.  They’ve heard of it, but can’t treat it. But we found a doctor inWashingtonDC who specialized in mesothelioma and we went to see him. He did a physical on Amanda and developed a plan.  They opened her up and took her vital organs and scraped them off, applied hot chemo to affected areas. But there was so many areas covered in tumors. They removed one 20 pound tumor she didn’t know she had. They removed her gallbladder. The cancer had totally destroyed her before we knew anything about it.
Donna: it was a tough surgery, we were there for over a month. The pain and suffering was awful, but Amanda was a trooper. She had it in her mind that she was going to fight and beat this disease.

And after that?
Doug: She was in a lot of pain at home. We went to the doctor weekly for chemo. At about the time she would get better from the treatment, it was time to have another. We watched our beautiful young girl waste away to basically just a skeleton of herself.
Donna: She tried really hard to keep a straight face through the pain and everything because she knew how upset we were. For about 2 and 1⁄2 years our lives were trips to and from the doctor.  She always said that as horrible as this cancer was, she was confident that she was going to be in the papers and the one who beat cancer.  She held onto that possibility ‘till she died.
Doug: Sometimes she would sense I was having a bad day because I was blaming myself for her illness. She would come to me and put her arm around my head and say it was not my fault. I
will always remember that time with her. You can’t help but to blame yourself. If Alcoa had been doing what they were supposed to be doing, Amanda would still be alive. Her death was needless.

Tell us about the lawsuit.
Doug: First of all, Amanda filed the suit. She did it to make sure employees knew of workplace hazards. I had been with Alcoa for 33 years and never heard of asbestos or a disease like this. She filed a suit to correct this problem. Why would a company, knowing what they knew about asbestos, knowing it could kill, knowing the pain and suffering it can cause a family, not tell their employees?
Donna: She wanted people to know what could happen to them at Alcoa. We still had family working there. That was all she wanted.
Doug: We wanted so much for her to have her day in court while she was still alive, but that didn’t happen. So we had to take over the lawsuit. The justice of the lawsuit was what what Amanda wanted and we told her we would finish it. We did all we could do to do the things she wanted done.

Tell us about any information you got from the lawsuit with respect to what Alcoa knew and when Alcoa knew it.
Doug: Alcoa knew in the early 70s about asbestos exposure and the dangers of taking it home.  I was in the courtroom where an older lady had a case against Alcoa for causing her mesothelioma. They had a taped deposition of Alcoa’s main industrial hygienist. The lawyer asked him if he thought it would be important for the employees to know about asbestos. And this is what the person who is paid to protect us, said, “What good would it have done?”  I’ll tell you what good it would have done, my daughter would be alive today had we known about the danger of asbestos.

Judge Young dismissed the case. Were you surprised?
Doug: No, that outcome was pretty much predictable given the location.  I knew the appeals process would start and I was confident in my representation.
Donna: I had some, you know, doubts, I had some worries, I just didn’t know.  He was more confident than I was.  But we knew that we had to fight on for Amanda.

Were you worried about the Court of Appeals?

Doug: For some reason I wasn’t concerned about the court of appeals.  I knew we had a good case.
I knew that once it got to a bigger stage that right would win.

When Alcoa appealed to the Supreme Court, did you change your mind?
Doug: The Supreme Court really made me nervous, for some reason. But one thing kept going through my mind. After we lost inBlountCounty, Alcoa’s spokesman came on TV and said “We consider this case has no merit”. And it’s sorta like Amanda had no merit. But after the Supreme Court decision, after the Appellate Court decision, I counted 5 Supreme Court Justices plus 3 Appellate Court Justices, eight judges said it does have merit.
Donna: When the Supreme Court decided for us, and on Amanda’s birthday, I just, I thought it was so great. I was ecstatic, I really really was. Yes, it was her birthday and we thought oh man, what a gift!  What a gift that these people see what’s right. Because you know you have right and you have wrong and everything she had had was wrong and we finally got her right. We finally got somebody that’s listening that’s gonna protect our kids, our families. And so I was feeling very good.

What’s life like now?
Doug: It’s sort of a bittersweet. We’re very thankful that it’s over with. It’s a huge burden off of us. But, in the end, we didn’t quite get done what Amanda wanted but, the Supreme Court decision that protects employees from their employers was a huge success and we can hang our hats on that. That employers have to protect their employees now from hazardous materials.  And we take great pride in that. That is going to help more people than we could ever help.

Doug, do you have any words of advice for others whose loved ones have been injured due to the workplace?

Doug: I think, first and foremost, that you have to stand up for what you believe in, what your family believes in. I think you have to protect your family, parents have to protect their children. When you do that for your family, you’re helping others. It all starts with great representation. You have to get someone who is very knowledgeable in the area that you are troubled with.

Interview by Nathan Sparks and Greg Coleman // Written by Stephen Dupree
Photo by Jimmy Chiarella
Editor’s note: Attorneys Mona Wallace and Doug Nichol also participated for the plantiffs in this case.

http://www.cityviewmag.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=370:alcoa-asbestos-oct-09&catid=85:features&Itemid=660

 
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$2 million awarded in local asbestos case

Former city man blames cancer on products used in odd jobs

By CHRIS DETTRO - THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Posted Aug 17, 2009 @ 11:29 PM

ASangamonCounty jury last week awarded a formerSpringfield postal worker and part-time handyman $2 million at the conclusion of an asbestos-exposure trial.

William Willis, who lived most of his life in the Williamsville area and onSpringfield’s north end, was a night-shift U.S. Postal Service employee from 1966 until retiring in 1992. He testified during the 3 /2-week trial before Circuit Judge Pete Cavanagh that he did various odd jobs during the day, including truck and bus driving and home construction and repair in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.

Willis alleged in his suit that he had used asbestos-containing pipe manufactured by CertainTeed Corp. and asbestos-containing joint compound made by Bondex International Inc. and Georgia-Pacific Corp., among others. Asbestos was phased out of the products in 1977.

Willis, now 69 and living inArkansas, alleged that he had developed incurable pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, as a result of exposure to the asbestos. He said in his suit that the products contained no warnings concerning the asbestos content, and if there were warnings, they were inadequate.

The jury found Bondex International alone liable and awarded Willis $1.5 million in damages and his wife, Sharon Willis, $500,000 for loss of consortium. It found CertainTeed and Georgia-Pacific not to be negligent.

The defendants argued that Willis had used their products decades ago and was mistaken about which products he actually used. Their attorneys also argued that the amount of asbestos in the defendants’ products wasn’t enough to harm, and that there was no known cause for Willis’ mesothelioma.

Other defendants either settled with Willis or were dismissed from the case prior to the verdict.
Stephen Kaufmann of theSpringfield office of HeplerBroom LLC, along with other HeplerBroom colleagues, represented Georgia-Pacific, one of the three defendants who remained through trial.

“I think the jury heard a very complex case and returned a verdict that was supported by the evidence and brought justice to Mr. And Mrs. Willis,” said Jack Davis of Davis Law Offices LLC inSpringfield, a member of Willis’ legal team.

Davis also praised the way Cavanagh handled the trial.

“The courtroom can be a very tough atmosphere, and when you have a level-headed, even-tempered judge who is fair to both sides, it makes the lawyers’ jobs so much easier,” he said.

Willis’ pretrial motion asking to add a claim for punitive damages was denied.

The jury award is subject to a reduction of $1.4 million due to prior settlement amounts.

http://www.sj-r.com/business/x640866866/-2-million-awarded-in-local-abestos-case

 
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Deal mayMESOTHELIOMA VERDICT: JURY AWARDS $700,000

2009-08-06 14:52:13 (GMT) (WiredPRNews.com - Mesothelioma Asbestos, Press Releases)

Dallas, Texas (Mesothelioma Cancer News) — Case Style: Estelle Firth, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Thomas Firth, deceased; Kimberly Horner and Donna Reynolds, vs. AGCO Corporation, et al., In the Court of Common Pleas, Richland County South Carolina; Cause No: 2007-CP-40-02580

Jury Verdict: $ 700,000.00

Plaintiff(s): Thomas Firth, deceased; Estelle Firth, Kimberly Horner and Donna Reynolds.

Defendant: Garlock Sealing Technology, LLC

Verdict Date: June 26, 2009

Facts: Thomas Firth, a 72-year oldSouth Carolina resident, suffered from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. Firth was diagnosed with mesothelioma in November, 2006 and died from this fatal disease on July 13, 2007.

Tom Firth’s only known exposure to asbestos happened at Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point, in the 1950s where he worked for less than a year. He was a mechanic’s assistant on a battery of Coke ovens and worked with Garlock gaskets and packing on the many pumps and vales associated with the Coke ovens.

Following less than 5 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a $700,000 dollar verdict in favor of the Firth family. The jury found that the Garlock gaskets and packing were a substantial factor in causing Thomas Firth’s mesothelioma and death. The jury concluded that the company negligently failed to warn Thomas Firth and others of the inherent dangers of working with their asbestos products.

“We are so happy for Firth family. While Garlock has admitted outside of the court room that their products can cause cancer they refuse to do so in the court room. It was satisfying to hear the jury unanimously find that Garlock’s asbestos products were dangerous and that Garlock is responsible for this terrible loss to the Firth family,” said Chris Panatier, lead counsel for the Firth family.

Plaintiff attorneys: Chris Panatier & Jessica Dean; Simon, Eddins & Greenstone, LLP,Dallas,Texas.

Defense attorneys: Tim Bouch and Kevin Ward; Leath, Bouch, Crawford and Von Keller, LLP,Charleston,South Carolina.

Judge: Honorable Larry Patterson

Plaintiff experts: Dr. Arnold Brody (cell biologist); Dr. Edwin Holstein (Occupational Medicine); and Steve Hays (Industrial Hygienist).

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CALL ABOUT THE FIRTH CASE CONTACT JESSICA DEAN (214) 276-7680.

http://www.wiredprnews.com/2009/08/06/mesothelioma-verdict-jury-awards-700000_200908065024.html

 
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Asbestos mine settlement encouraging forVermont residents

By Louis Porter Vermont Press Bureau - Published: July 6, 2009

There is hope in the towns aroundBelvidereMountain, including Eden and Lowell, that a federal settlement with the former owner of the massive asbestos mine there could mark the start of life returning to normal.

The rural and wooded towns, less well off than many parts of the state, depend in large part on summer camps, tourism and logging for their livelihoods. Residents said it is hard to tell whether houses there are not selling because of the economy or because of fears – unjustified according to locals – of the mine brought on by recent government attention. And they still have questions about how the settlement will play out in their communities.

The mine, closed since the early 1990s, was once the largest chrysotile, or white asbestos, mine in the country. Since its closure, runoff from the mountain of mine tailings or waste rock from the site has damaged wetlands and washed off the property occasionally. Those mine tailings also have been used over the decades for road construction, well building and other purposes in a large number of towns in a wide swath around the mine.

Under the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice (working for the Environmental Protection Agency) and G-1 Holdings Inc., the company – now in bankruptcy – will secure the site and make sure that all-terrain vehicle riders and others, who still are using the site, will be kept out by fences and gates.

If the settlement, which also was agreed to by the state of Vermont, is approved by bankruptcy court the company also will establish and fund a trust that will cover other costs for containing, monitoring doing some clean up of the site. That trust will be responsible for up to $7.75 million worth of air monitoring, dust suppression and security measures over eight years.

In addition, under the agreement the company will cover about 8.6 percent of $300 million, the estimate of what future clean-up costs will be and pay $850,000 for runoff damage to wetlands and other waterways near the site, according to the settlement.

G-1 also will be responsible for $104,615 at nine superfund sites around the country that it or its predecessor companies also were involved with.

"The intent is that EPA and the state will work together on whatever cleanup is decided as we go forward," said Sabina Haskell of the state Agency of Natural Resources. "Most important is that right away it is going to secure that site."

"That is very important because people are still accessing the mine, which is not a good idea," she said.

"We are very satisfied with the settlement," she added. "They have been negotiating for upwards of a year."

Rep. Floyd Nease, who represents Eden and other near-by towns, said he still wonders how the matter will play out.

"It's great there is some accountability," Nease said. "At the same time it is a company that is in bankruptcy."

But, Nease noted, the amount of the G-1 settlement is far less than the estimated total for cleaning up the site.

"I need to know why there is that big a discrepancy," he said. "The other question is how does this interact with the effort to put it on the superfund list. I don't have answers to those questions."

Some residents say more damage has been done by the attention brought to the mine by the government than by the tailings pile itself.

Late last year the Vermont Department of Health issued a report making a connection between living in the towns around the mine and health risks. That report was updated by the state later, and that connection was discounted.

"All of the five asbestosis-related deaths that occurred in towns surrounding the mine during the years 1996 to 2005 can be explained by occupational exposure to asbestos," according to a more recent update of the study.

But those who have lived around the mine all their lives did not believe in that health risk – but they did believe in the potential for lowered property values because of the release of the study, said Bruce Burnor, owner of the Eden Mini Mart.

"We all grew up here. All of our roads are made up of that asbestos rock," he said.

"It's kind of a laughing stock to people who grew up here," Burnor said. But "the health department really put a scare into people" mostly about the risk that they would not be able to sell their property, he said.

There are many houses and camps for sale, and few are selling, but it is hard to tell if that is because of the economy or because of fears about the asbestos tailings, Burnor said.

"It is kind of hard to tell. There is a lot of property for sale, but there is everywhere because of the economy," he said. "Property is not selling at all. Is that because of the economy?"

Burnor said it would probably be best simply to leave the tailings pile alone.

"If you go up there and start working you stir up dust you are just making it worse," said.

Betty Jones, who owns property next to the mine, agreed. And covering the rock pile will likely not work, either, she added.

"If they cover it it is so steep the cover will slide with the first snowstorm," she said.

There is still a tremendous amount of anger over how the state handled the report about the mine, she added.

"Nobody has thought a thing about it until they started prowling around here," she said. "They hadn't paid any attention to it for years."

"Most people feel just leave it alone," agreed Warren Whitcomb III, chairman ofEden's Select board.

http://www.timesargus.com/article/20090706/NEWS02/907060354/1003/NEWS02

 
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Jury Assesses a $3.4 Million Verdict for Johns-Manville Worker With Mesothelioma

Former Johns-Manville worker, Richard Worthley Sr., was exposed to raw asbestos supplied by Advocate Mines Limited. Due to his occupational asbestos exposure, he ultimately developed and succumbed to mesothelioma. In his defective product and negligence case against Advocate Mines Limited, aSan Francisco jury ruled in favor of Mr. Worthley's family, assessing a $3.4million verdict.

Novato,CA (PRWEB) July 23, 2009 -- After a single day of deliberations on Wednesday, July 22, 2009, aSan Francisco jury ruled in favor of the family of Richard Worthley Sr., a deceased former Johns-Manville Transite plant worker fromBeaumont,California. The jury assessed a combined verdict of almost $3.4million against Advocate Mines Limited due to their contribution in causing Mr. Worthley's mesothelioma and death. The jury determined that Advocate Mines Limited exposed Mr. Worthley to its defectively designed asbestos product, failed to warn about the dangers of their asbestos product, and that they were negligent. Advocate Mines Limited is an asbestos mine inBaie Verte,Newfoundland.          

Mr. Worthley served in the United States Marine Corps in the San Francisco Bay Area,San Diego,California, andVietnam from 1963 to 1967. In May 1968, he started his career at the Johns-Manville,Waukegan,IL plant as a painter, then a production planner, and eventually as a millwright. When the Johns-Manville plant closed in 1984, he worked as a maintenance mechanic and service technician throughoutSouthern California. In 2004, Mr. Worthley was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal asbestos caused cancer of the pleura, the organ that protects the lungs.

We demonstrated to the jury that it was the total dose of asbestos that Mr. Worthley was exposed to at the Johns-Manville plant, including resuspended asbestos fiber from Advocate Mines Limited, that contributed together to cause his mesothelioma and death.

Advocate Mines Limited supplied bulk asbestos fiber to the Johns-Manville,Waukegan,IL plant from December 1963 to April 1967. During his career at the plant from May 1968 to November 1984, Mr. Worthley was exposed to dust from the raw asbestos fiber used to make Transite asbestos-cement pipe, including asbestos fiber that had been reentrained and resuspended from when Advocate Mines Limited supplied asbestos fiber to the plant. In addition to simply being present on a daily basis in the contaminated plant, one of Mr. Worthley's jobs was to clean and repair the Transite manufacturing equipment. This included the willows, cleaning and repairing the dust collection equipment, the bag houses, ventilators, and cyclones. All these activities exposed Mr. Worthley to asbestos dust, including asbestos that originated from Advocate Mines Limited.

The trial began on June 10, 2009 and was presided over by the Hon. Tomar Mason in Department 606 of the San Francisco Superior Court. At trial, plaintiffs presented evidence showing that when used as intended, hazardous levels of respirable asbestos dust from Advocate Mines Limited raw asbestos fiber was released into the background of the facility. By 1963, it was well established in medicine and science that asbestos caused asbestosis, pleural disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Yet, Advocate Mines Limited supplied its defective asbestos fiber without any warnings or any other reasonable care to avoid injury to others. The jury assigned 5% percent of the liability to Advocate Mines Limited.

"We demonstrated to the jury that it was the total dose of asbestos that Mr. Worthley was exposed to at the Johns-Manville plant, including resuspended asbestos fiber from Advocate Mines Limited, that contributed together to cause his mesothelioma and death." said James P. Nevin, counsel for Richard Worthley. Mr. Nevin of BraytonPurcell LLP, represented the Worthley family at trial.

Defendant Advocate Mines Limited was represented at trial by John Graniez and Suzanne Golden of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.

Case Information:
Mickie Worthley et al. v. Advocate Mines Limited, et. al.
San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 432308

http://www.prweb.com/releases/Brayton-Purcell/mesothelioma-worthley/prweb2675644.htm

 
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Supreme Court rules for Travelers in asbestos case

WASHINGTON

Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:13am EDT

Workers remove asbestos in a file photo. REUTERS/File

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday for Travelers Companies Inc, one of the largest U.S. property and casualty insurers, and said a lower court erred in overturning the approval of the company's nearly $500 million settlement of asbestos-related litigation.

The settlement also barred new lawsuits against Travelers stemming from its relationship with Johns Manville Corp, which had been the country's largest miner of asbestos and a major manufacturer of asbestos-containing products.

Travelers had been Manville's primary insurer from 1947 through 1976. Exposure to asbestos has been found to increase the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other illnesses.

Travelers, based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has argued that asbestos-related claims should be paid out of a trust that had been created by Johns Manville and approved by a federal bankruptcy judge in 1986. Travelers paid about $80 million into that fund.

Travelers then agreed to settlements reached in 2003 and 2004 with several groups of plaintiffs, provided that federal courts barred any future similar lawsuits. Travelers agreed to pay almost $500 million to resolve those claims.

A bankruptcy court judge and a federal judge inNew York in 2006 approved the settlement. But aU.S. appeals court last year overturned the approval of the settlement on the grounds the bankruptcy judge lacked the authority to bar new lawsuits.

By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court's ruling.

Justice David Souter wrote for the court majority that the bankruptcy judge's orders barred state-law actions against Travelers based on allegations of its own wrongdoing while acting as Manville's insurer or misuse of information obtained from Manville.

Souter said in the opinion that the finality of the 1986 orders generally stand in the way of challenging their enforceability.

(Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE55H3QM20090618

 
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New York Mesothelioma cancer news:New York Bankruptcy judge says GM asbestos victims lose!

2009-07-12 18:29:17 (GMT) (JusticeNewsFlash.com - Justice News Flash, Mesothelioma Asbestos)

New York Bankruptcy Court Judge rules against injured consumers claims

Legal news report-New York mesothelioma cancer lawyers.

New York Federal District Court judge rules against GM owners and asbestos injury claims.

New York,NY -U.S. Federal Bankruptcy Judge inNew York, Robert Gerber, ruled against appeals filed by toxic tort and product liability lawyers, on behalf of asbestos claimants and car accident victims who have been litigating against the sale of most of General Motors (GM) assets. The plaintiffs and their civil trial attorneys were attempting to have their appeals bypass theFederal District Court, as reported by the New York Times.

Attorneys representing alleged injured consumers asserted the U.S. Treasury was using a bankruptcy action to buy out GM’s most desirable assets. Top plaintiff’s attorneys charged with protecting consumers rights in the federal courts assert the sale and bankruptcy of the American auto maker would leave behind liabilities such as the personal injury claims filed against GM The claimants further argue the new reorganized GM should continue to be responsible for the claims filed by injured victims before the automobile manufacturer’s reorganization. Treasury Department leaders and General Motor’s unsecured creditors committee have objected the request by the alleged injured parties.

As of March 31, 2009, the estimated cost of future product liability claims against GM is suspected to reach around $934 million, with the asbestos related claims reaching $627 million. Asbestos and asbestos containing materials are known human carcinogens. Primary and secondary exposure to asbestos fibers can cause incurable respiratory illnesses and diseases including mesothelioma lung cancer. General Motors, based inDetroit,Michigan, claimed the sale to the U.S. Treasury Department is the company’s only option. GM filed bankruptcy protection on June 1, 2009, and plans to close the sale, quickly, after any stay of the Federal Judge’s approval orders expire.

http://www.justicenewsflash.com/2009/07/12/york-bankruptcy-judge-gm-asbestos-victims-lose_200907121646.html

 
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Family of ex-sailor wins $1.2M in asbestos lawsuit

By News in Brief
Published: June 22, 2009

NEWPORT NEWS—The family of a retired Navy sailor who died of cancer triggered by asbestos fibers he inhaled on the job decades ago has won $1.2 million in its lawsuit against a ship-parts manufacturer.

Gerald Gray died in April after suffering from mesothelioma. His death, at age 75, came five weeks before the trial was to begin against John Crane Inc., anIllinois maker of gaskets and other parts used on ships Gray repaired.

The Newport News Circuit Court jury awarded a total of $4 million against five manufacturers and assigned a percentage of blame to each. Jurors weren’t informed that four companies settled out of court before the case went to trial for undisclosed sums.

John Crane fought the case, and was apportioned 30 percent, or $1.2 million.

The case marked the fourth year in a row thatNewport News attorney Robert R. Hatten has won a seven-figure verdict against John Crane.

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http://valawyersweekly.com/blog/2009/06/22/family-of-ex-sailor-wins-12m-in-asbestos-lawsuit/

 
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Railroad workers claim asbestosis, seek $1 million in St. Clair County FELA case
6/8/2009 12:20 PM By Kelly Holleran 

Four former railroad workers are seeking more than $1 million from five railroad corporations, alleging they developed asbestosis after they were exposed to asbestos and second-hand cigarette smoke during their employment.

Gerald Abbott, Thomas Wright, Ronald Franklin and Carl Cory filed a lawsuit May 29 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against CSX Transportation, Consolidated Rail Corporation, American Premier Underwriters, The Alton and Southern Railway Company and Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Because of their work for the companies, the men say they developed asbestosis and respiratory illness.

They now suffer great pain and disability, mental anguish and extreme nervousness and have lost large amounts of income because of their disabilities, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs say the companies violated the Federal Employers Liability Act by failing to provide them with a safe place to work, by failing to provide them with adequate equipment, by exposing them to asbestos, by failing to warn them of the hazards of asbestos and by permitting unsafe work practices to become common.

The railroad corporations also violated the Locomotive Boiler Inspection Act by failing to provide locomotives whose appurtenances were in proper and safe conditions, by requiring plaintiffs to work on locomotives that were defective because they were contaminated with asbestos, silica, second-hand smoke and emitted dangerous amounts of diesel exhaust, the suit states.

All of the men worked for the railroad in carman craft. Abbott worked from 1941 until 1961; Wright from 1957 until 1959; Franklin from 1964 until 1984 and Cory from 1950 until 1963, the complaint says.

In the 28-count suit, the men are seeking a judgment in excess of $1.4 million, plus costs.

William P. Gavin of the Gavin Law Firm inBelleville will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-284.

http://www.stclairrecord.com/news/219439-railroad-workers-claim-asbestosis-seek-1-million-in-st.-clair-county-fela-case

 
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Family Gets $4.5 Million In Asbestos Suit

Jurors Critical Of Companies That Supplied Products

POSTED: 6:49 pm CDT June 3, 2009

UPDATED: 11:51 am CDT June 4, 2009

 

KANSAS CITY,Mo. --The family of a man who died of mesothelioma battled three major companies and won on Wednesday in aClayCounty court.

The jury awarded the family of Robert Wagner a $4.5 million settlement in a suit that alleged that exposure to asbestos-contaminated products led to his death.

Wagner worked for years installing tiles, wood and other materials containing asbestos in buildings such asCrownCenter andKansas CityInternationalAirport. Much of the work was done before OSHA regulated construction sites for asbestos.

More than 30 years after working with the products Wagner died from mesothelioma, a cancer his family said he developed from exposure to the asbestos-contaminated materials.

The judgment was against Bondex International, Conwed Corporation and Simpson Timber Company.

After three weeks of testimony the jury found in favor of Wagner. Two jurors said the companies knew about the asbestos in the products but failed to determine how much exposure would be considered deadly.

Wagner's family declined comment as did the attorneys representing the companies.

 

http://www.kctv5.com/news/19650641/detail.html

 
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FormerU.S. Navy Machinist Wins $12M Compensation in Asbestos Lawsuit

May 13, 2009 9:33 p.m. EST

Windsor Genova - AHN News Writer

Los Angeles,CA (AHN) - A former U.S. Navy machinist, who became terminally ill due to asbestos exposure while working on a naval ship in the 1960s, has won $12.1 million in damages from two firms.

A Los Angeles County jury ruled on Monday that the manufacturer and supplier of an asbestos product must pay 66-year-old Charles H. Cundiff $10 million for pain and suffering and $506,000 in economic damages for lost wages because he is now afflicted with mesothelioma. His wife was awarded $1.5 million for loss of consortium.

The jury said John Crane, Inc., which made Insulag, and Lone Star Industries, which delivered the asbestos-laced insulating cement to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, made a defective product and failed to warn Cundiff of its health hazard.

Cundiff handled Insulag cement in the overhauling of the USS Kitty Hawk that lasted nine months during his Navy tour from 1962 to 1966.

Cundiff was absent during Monday's hearing and his deposition was used as his testimony

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7015131810
 
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Secrecy of asbestos trusts critical ally of plaintiff attorneys who run them
5/4/2009 12:42 PM by Staff Reports 

With major American corporations sagging under the weight of billions in asbestos-related lawsuits, Congress set out in 1994 to provide a reasonable way for companies to limit their liability to asbestos victims.

The result, a special set of bankruptcy provisions designed to facilitate reorganization plans for firms with significant asbestos liability, became the only practical way to stem the tide of seemingly limitless liability. Most significant was a provision now commonly known as 524g, which provides that defendants in Chapter 11 can receive a discharge from present and future personal injury and property damage claims.

To keep costs low - a RAND study showed that less than one-third of the total amount of a settlement actually made it to the plaintiff - the trusts were organized for simple processes of filing a claim, which often includes little more than completing a form and providing a medical diagnosis.

But with billions funding bankruptcy trusts while doing little to stem the tide of lawsuits still filed in civil courts against a whole new batch of defendants not protected by the bankruptcy courts, greater attention is being paid to how the trusts work and, more importantly, how they pay claims.

At a time when interest in trusts has grown considerably -- $40 billion in assets currently held by trusts will do that - the trusts are taking even greater measures to maintain secrecy about their actions.

According to Lester Brickman, a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law inNew York and widely regarded as the nation's leading asbestos legal scholar, the trusts are controlled almost exclusively by plaintiffs' attorneys who profit the most from them.

"The trusts operate as private kingdoms run exclusively by plaintiffs' lawyers except for the Manville trust," Brickman said. "All of the other trusts are piggybanks owned by the plaintiffs' lawyers who can write the rules, or rewrite the rules, according to their needs."

Even the circle of those firms involved in the trusts is a much smaller subset than plaintiffs' law firms that handle asbestos cases. As of 2002, more than half of all claims filed against bankruptcy trusts were filed by 10 law firms, according to University of San Diego Professor of Economics Michelle White.

With so few handling so much money and firmly in control of the one government-established method of limiting liability, it's not hard to see why public scrutiny is not welcome, a fact made even more clear with a recent decision by the one trust, the Manville Trust, that cuts off a lone source of vital information.

The Secrecy of Trusts

Only the first trust, The Manville Trust, which set the model for all future trusts, produces public data that helps asbestos legal professionals accumulate data and information about how people get compensated for their illnesses.

AsChicago defense attorney Kirk Hartley wrote on a blog tracking global asbestos litigation, "It seems incongruous that there is no free, national database of objective data regarding asbestos litigation."

Yet in March, the Manville Trust said it would no longer release aggregate data regarding the trusts' funding and payments.

For several years, scholars like Brickman and authors Charles Bates and Charles Mullin, have reported extensively on data from the Manville Trust-data that for now, is no longer available.

"Many of us relied exclusively on Manville Trust data and, of course, it was shut down," Brickman said.

Hartley posted a letter on his blog in response to an email he sent seeking information about the decision that confirmed the change. The letter provided little explanation.

"The change has come as the Manville Trustees, working together with Trust constituencies, have reevaluated the Trust's policies regarding the release of claims filing information," wrote Jared S. Garelick, senior attorney for the trust. "During the pendency of the reevaluation, which is ongoing, the Trust has declined to make available certain information that it previously did."

Hartley noted another change in policy, one that has potentially even greater implications.

"In addition to limiting access to data, the Manville Trust also is impairing transparency by modifying its data collection activities. Specifically, as of November 2008, the Trust dropped its long-standing rule requiring claimants to provide their social security numbers," Hartley wrote.

The change, according to Hartley, will make it much harder to distinguish between those being paid, which as a result makes it "harder to detect duplicate and/or fraudulent claiming to the Manville Trust," Hartley wrote.

Mark Behrens, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who specializes in tort reform, said the secrecy in regards to the trusts sets the stage for abuse.

"The possibility the claimants could receive payments from multiples trusts could result in an increase in claims against the trusts if they allow for compensation of unimpaired claimants or permit recoveries by claimants with only flimsy evidence of exposure," he said.

The change in policy is just the latest move to maintain the secrecy in how asbestos trusts operate, how much the pay to individual plaintiffs is and mostly to hide the abuses inherent in a system designed and operated largely at the discretion of the plaintiffs' attorneys who will make billions from them.

Brickman said that by amending the bylaws of various trusts, plaintiffs' lawyers can keep private who gets paid-a situation ripe for a single plaintiff being paid more than once for a claim.

Should we expect "double-dipping?" Brickman was asked.

"What's beyond quintuple-dipping?" Brickman responded rhetorically, before answering his own question. "As many times as needed to collect money."

The problem, according to economics professor White, is simple supply-and-demand economics.

"Plaintiffs' law firms need a steady flow of new plaintiffs in order to maintain their incomes," she said. "Because the number of plaintiffs developing serious asbestos diseases is declining, new plaintiffs are increasingly likely to have been exposed to asbestos, but to have no disability."

New defendants with increasingly remote ties to asbestos are being sued in court, while the first round of defendants pay through the trusts.

White pointed out that defendants named in asbestos cases now include companies with the slightest connection, companies likeCampbell's Soup that may have had asbestos insulation in their plant for example.

"With such long list of defendants, settlements add up," White wrote.

Defense attorneys say this situation has the potential of simply doubling the amount of money paid to claimants when all is said and done.

"Defendants assert that plaintiffs will fully collect twice for the same liability if they are allowed to first collect the tort liability then from tort defendants and then collect again from the trusts," Bates said.

In essence, the solvent defendants are left holding the bag in the courts, for money already allocated through the trusts.

Brickman said this is again a method plaintiffs' lawyers can manipulate the trusts to their advantage.

"Lawyers now are holding off filing with the trusts until they finish with the tort system," he said. "Then and only then they are filing with the trusts. At that point they can say whatever they want because nobody checks."

Secrecy promotes abuses

Something as basic as how much money is paid on average to someone suffering from mesothelioma, the deadliest of asbestos-related disease, remains a source of constant tension between asbestos researchers and the plaintiffs' lawyers who control the trusts.

At a recent asbestos conference in March, Bates explained the problem the lack of information creates.

"No one has the data to directly calculate the national average mesothelioma tort recovery," Bates told the audience of leading asbestos professionals gathered in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bates said partners at a leading plaintiff firm told him, "they have data that confirms a $6 million total mesothelioma recovery per claimant, but they are not going to let me see their data," he said.

Bates' own research estimated the figure to be closer to $1 million per plaintiff. The difference is significant. With roughly $30 to $40 billion in trust funding, the trusts have enough money to pay "most if not all of the tort liability of the 30,000 pending and future mesothelioma and other asbestos claims," Bates said. "At $6 million per mesothelioma claimant, not even close."

The practical policy matter is payments from the trusts should be reduced to the extent the trusts can pay out, Bates said. But the greater implication is that solvent defendants are now paying more as liability transfers to them from those companies protected by bankruptcy.

The relative secrecy of the asbestos trusts has been the greatest ally for plaintiff's lawyers. OneChicago defense attorney said the trusts have been operating this way for more than a decade and now the process is firmly established.

"It's just simpler this way," he said. "They've done it this way in the last 60 bankruptcies when nobody was paying attention and that's just how it was."

AWashington,D.C. bankruptcy attorney who specializes in asbestos cases says there are many abuses to the trusts, but those abuses rarely garner much attention because of the complicated nature of bankruptcy laws.

He said some companies that have been destroyed by bankruptcy should not be in the reorganization process. On the other side of the coin, some companies that are in no danger of bankruptcy are using the bankruptcy courts to mitigate their liability, ease concern from stockholders, which then drive stock prices back up, effectively paying off the money paid into the bankruptcy trust.

Both types of abuses muddy the waters and the effectiveness of the trusts to work for those companies that truly cannot continue to operate without the ability to limit future liability.

TheChicago defense attorney, who did not wish to be named for this article, said, "About a decade ago or so, Wall Street figured out the value of bankruptcy. When you could start shedding pension liability and get rid of these things, all of sudden your business is no longer laboring over these legacy costs, and could become a brand new company."

Halliburton became the poster child for this shrewd use of bankruptcy protection related to its pending asbestos litigation. In little more than a year the company went through the bankruptcy process, paid roughly $3 billion into the trust and emerged, much to the pleasure of investors who promptly sent the company's stock skyrocketing.

"The plaintiffs bar got the whole three billion and we got screwed," theChicago defense attorney said. "The next day their stock jumped so high they effectively made the money back."

Untying these potential for abuses, particularly with so little public data, may prove to be impossible, legal experts interviewed for this story said. Previous attempts by Congress and the courts to either fix or disband the asbestos trusts have failed. As one attorney said, "What are they going to do with all that money in the trusts? Just give it back and start over?"

Perhaps.

Public scrutiny increased in late March when the United States Supreme Court heard a case that caused the justices to question the practical working applications of asbestos bankruptcy law.

As such, the Court will have the next word on the topic following its March hearing of a case regarding the Manville Trust. During the hearing the justices probed attorneys about the practices and intentions of the trusts, and whether they continued to do what they were intended.

Though the decision by the High Court to hear the case surprised many, leaving open the possibility the court intends to issue a sweeping legal ruling that could fundamentally change the way the trusts do business, most believe the Court's decision will be less dramatic.

"The concern, I think it's fair to say, is that the Supreme Court might reach out and limit 524(g)s generally, or even perhaps declare it unconstitutional," the D.C. bankruptcy attorney said. "That would be a far stretch for the court, but that's the underlying fear. Maybe it's just a matter of interest to them, or maybe they have some grand designs."

Either way, the more public it gets, the less the plaintiffs' attorneys will approve.

Legal experts in other countries have observed the way asbestos cases have continued virtually unabated for decades, hoping to learn from mistakes. An English columnist recently wrote about the necessity of avoiding "the American result."

An increasingly difficult part of that "result" is new roadblocks to the only potential road for companies to limit the seemingly endless liability in asbestos litigation.

http://www.madisonrecord.com/news/218794-secrecy-of-asbestos-trusts-critical-ally-of-plaintiff-attorneys-who-run-them

 
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Texas Court rules on asbestos exclusion in insurance policies

2009-03-14 01:55:23 (GMT) (Caymanmama.com - Mesothelioma News News)

On March 11, 2009, aTexas state court ruling created a sort of loophole for policyholders facing liability on different types of asbestos claims

Austin,Texas (MesotheliomaCancerNews.com) — On March 11, 2009, aTexas state court ruling created a sort of loophole for policyholders facing liability on different types of asbestos claims.

According to a recent report in the Insurance Journal, “Judge J. Manuel Bañales of the 105th Judicial District Court of Nueces County, Texas, ruled that “asbestosis” exclusion bars coverage only for asbestosis claims and does not bar coverage for claims involving mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleural plaques or any other asbestos-related disease.”

The ruling was brought about by ASARCO LLC on a claim of an asbestosis exclusion sold by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company.

As part of a partial summary judgment, ASARCO was seeking a ruling for an exclusion applied only to claims arising from the specific disease known as asbestosis, and not specifically mesothelioma, lung cancer, or any other type of asbestos-related illness.

Challenging that stance, Fireman’s Fund contended that the exclusion banned coverage for all asbestos-related diseases.

ASARCO, a copper company based inArizona filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005.

The report states, “At issue in the coverage action is a determination of insurance coverage for past, present and future asbestos liabilities.”

http://www.caymanmama.com/2009/03/13/texas-court-mesothelioma-ruling_200903134268.html

 

 
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Field Fisher Waterhouse recovers record compensation in asbestos cancer case

WEBWIRE – Friday, February 20, 2009

Contact Information

Harminder Bains

Legal Executive

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP

Law firm, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP, has recovered more than £250,000 in compensation at the High Court on behalf of a widow whose husband died from mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer.

Mr John Lambie of Spalding inLincolnshire died in November 2006 at just 62. He died from mesothelioma - a cancer of the lining of the lung caused by exposure to asbestos. He was exposed to asbestos between 1965 and 1970 when he worked for New Century Group Ltd, based in Harlesden,London, as an industrial cleaner, cleaning factories and bakeries all over the South East. His job involved cleaning the asbestos corrugated roofs of factories and cleaning pipes lagged with asbestos.

His widow, Jane Beesley, who has now re-married, nursed him during his illness at home. In addition to general damages, the Judge awarded £25,000 compensation to Mrs Beesley for the care and assistance she gave to her dying husband which is the highest ever award for care and assistance in a mesothelioma claim.

Harminder Bains, lawyer in the Asbestos Claims Group at Field Fisher Waterhouse, was instructed to claim compensation from New Century Group Ltd on behalf of Mrs Beesley. The total award, which included interest, was £253,310. This includes the sum of £72,000 for pain and suffering, one of the highest awards for this type of case, and £25,000 for the care and assistance given by Mrs Beesley, which is the highest ever award for this item in a mesothelioma case.

Harminder Bains, the lawyer who dealt with the case, at Field Fisher Waterhouse said: "Mrs Beesley attended to all of her dying husband’s needs in an attempt to give him some comfort. I am satisfied that in this case the Court recognised the extraordinary effort it takes to look after a dying man. I hope it is recognised in future cases"

Court number for this case - HQ 08X02073

In 2008, the Asbestos Claims Group at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP recovered over £16 million in compensation for victims of asbestos-related diseases in 124 successful cases. The lawyers in the firm’s Asbestos Claims Group have recovered over £132 million in 2025 successful claims.

About Field Fisher Waterhouse
Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP is a full-service European law firm with offices inBrussels,Hamburg andLondon. With 119 partners, over 200 other lawyers and nearly 300 support staff, FFW assist a wide range of international clients, advising across a full range of legal issues.
The main areas of practice are corporate and commercial, IP and technology, banking and finance, regulatory and real estate. Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP also have particular expertise in competition & EU law, dispute resolution, employment, asbestos claims, personal injury, brain damage cases, clinical negligence, public sector and tax.

http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=87869

 
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Asbestos Mesothelioma Victims Awarded Millions

February 4, 2008. By Jaime Jofre

 

Baltimore,MD: Jurors inBaltimore have found defendants liable in two separate cases, in which exposure to asbestos-containing products caused the plaintiffs to developmesothelioma.

On January 30, 3008, aMaryland state court jury ordered John Crane Inc. to pay
73-year-old George J. Linkus, $15.3 million in damages after he contracted malignant mesothelioma working with the defendant'sasbestos-containing rope.
Linkus worked in a machine shop lining valves using the rope on a daily basis. According to his attorney David L. Palmer, Linkus worked at Key Highway Shipyard from 1952 to 1959.

On February 1, 2008, a jury in Baltimore Circuit Court found Scapa Dryers, Inc., and Wallace & Gale liable in theasbestos-related mesothelioma and lung cancer of former paper worker Carl Saville. Saville was a paper machine operator, during the 1960's and 1970's, at the Westvaco paper plant inLuke,Maryland. He worked on drying machines which utilized Scapa-manufactured dryer felts containing chrysotile asbestos.

The plaintiffs argued that Saville was exposed to asbestos-containing dryer felts produced by Scapa as well as pipe, cement and block insulation installed by Wallace & Gale, resulting in the development of the harmful disease.

Saville had waited for this retrial since 2003, when the original verdict, in his favor, was overturned on appeal. In 2002, a lobectomy revealed Saville had a mesothelioma tumor, and he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

"We commend the jury's decision to hold both Wallace & Gale and Scapa Dryers responsible for knowingly exposing him to dangerous materials," said Motley Rice trial counsel Fritz J. Jekel.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that begins in the tissue that line different organs and spaces inside the body. This tissue, called mesothelium, protects organs by making a special fluid that allows the organs to move. This fluid also makes it easier for the lungs to move inside the chest during breathing.

The main risk factor for mesothelioma is contact with asbestos. When asbestos fibers are breathed in, some can travel to the ends of the small air passages and reach the lining of the lungs. There they can damage the cells lining the lungs, which can lead to pleural mesothelioma. If swallowed, these fibers can also reach the lining of the abdominal cavity where they play a part in causing peritoneal mesothelioma.

Asbestos, is a naturally occurring mineral. It is a fibrous hydrated silicate which possesses the unique characteristics of high tensile strength and flexibility. It is also chemical, electrical, and thermal resistant.

These properties along with the relatively low cost of asbestos have resulted in its widespread commercial use. In the past, asbestos was used in insulation as well as in other products such as floor tiles, door gaskets, roofing, patching compounds, and more. Most use stopped after 1989, but it is still used in some products. Since asbestos is a natural mineral, it can also be found in dust and rocks in certain parts of theUnited States.

The risk of getting mesothelioma depends on how much asbestos a person was exposed to and for how long. Mesotheliomas take a long time to develop. The time between the first exposure and finding the disease is often between 20 and 50 years.

People who may be at risk for asbestos exposure include miners, factory workers, makers of insulation, railroad workers, ship builders, gas mask makers, and construction workers. Family members of workers exposed to asbestos also have an increased risk of mesothelioma as asbestos fibers are carried home on the clothes of the workers.
There are an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma each year in theUnited States. The incidence of mesotheliomas in theUnited States increased from 1970 to 1990 and then stabilized.
In European countries, the rate of mesotheliomas is still increasing. In 2004 over 1,600 people died from mesothelioma in theUK, but the peak in numbers won't be reached until around 2015 when 2,500 new cases are expected. (Source: Health & Safety Executive. Mesothelioma mortality inGreat Britain: estimating the future burden. National Statistics 2003).
Production and use of asbestos inCanada peaked in the mid-1970s, and began to decline sharply after 1980. While current use of asbestos is relatively low, mesothelioma incidence rates are still rising rapidly. The sharp increase in mesothelioma rates over the past two decades has led to tens of millions of dollars in BC workers' compensation claims at a cost of roughly $154,000 to $200,000 per claim. New cases of mesothelioma—which has a 30- to 40-year latency period—are expected to echo this increase, with a peak in cases likely between 2000 and 2010.

 

(Source: UBC Centre For Health Services And Policy Research; Mesothelioma patterns and trends, 1970 to 2002: A pilot study).

 
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Pa. Court Rejects Challenge to Statutory Limit on Asbestos Liability

A four-judge minority says that denying the plaintiffs standing would treat in-state and out-of-state plaintiffs differently

The Legal Intelligencer

Gina Passarella

February 11, 2009

A deeply divided Superior Court en banc panel ruled asbestos plaintiffs didn't have standing to challenge on constitutional grounds a statute limiting the liability of successor corporations in asbestos litigation.

A four-judge minority said denying the plaintiffs standing would treat in-state and out-of-state plaintiffs differently and argued the statute treats in-state and out-of-state companies differently.

Both sides agreed inJohnson v. American Standard that Philadelphia-based Crown Cork & Seal Co. did not have to pay any more in asbestos liabilities on behalf of Mundet Cork, a company it purchased in 1963, because Crown Cork already paid out millions in liabilities attached to the company. Because Crown Cork paid out in liability more than the fair market value of Mundet at the time of its purchase, the company met the cap under 15 Pa. C.S.A Section 1929.1.

While the plaintiffs, administrators of the estates of three people who died from asbestos-related mesothelioma, agreed Crown Cork was protected under the statute, they argued the statute violated the Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Equal Protection Clause and other provisions ofPennsylvania's constitution.

The majority, led by Judge Maureen Lally-Green, agreed with Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Allan Tereshko's ruling that the plaintiffs did not fall under any "zone of interest" protected by the "dormant commerce clause" and therefore didn't have standing to challenge the statute under that constitutional doctrine.

Courts have invoked the dormant commerce clause to limit the power of state legislatures to enact measures that burden interstate commerce.

The Superior Court said that the constitutional doctrine was developed to protect interstate commerce, and, citing Tereshko's trial court opinion, any preferential treatment shown to in-state corporations had little effect on the plaintiffs. Therefore the plaintiffs themselves lacked standing.

The court disagreed with the plaintiffs' argument that they had standing since the statute effectively barred their claims against Crown Cork. Lally-Green said a general allegation of harm is not sufficient if there is no link to the specific constitutional violation being asserted.

The Superior Court rejected the plaintiffs' claim under the Equal Protection Clause for the same reasons and found the parties had no standing. It also rejected their claim that the statute was passed "in an unconstitutional manner." Because they were found not to have standing, that claim couldn't proceed, the court ruled.

Lally-Green was joined by President Judge Kate Ford Elliott and Judges Correale F. Stevens, Joan Orie Melvin and Susan Peikes Gantman.

Judge Richard B. Klein was joined in his dissent by Judges Jack Panella, Christine Donohue and John L. Musmanno. Klein said he thought the plaintiffs in this case had standing, and he found the statute unconstitutional on several levels.

Klein said it was a violation of the Commerce and Equal Protection clauses, though he did agree with the majority that it had not been improperly enacted.

"I believe that the statute treats similarly situated people differently because people injured by products made by an out-of-state corporation that acquired an asbestos company can recover, but people injured by products made by an in-state corporation that acquired an asbestos company cannot recover," Klein said. "Therefore the statute violates equal protection."

He also said the statute violates the Commerce Clause because it gives in-state companies protection that it doesn't afford out-of-state companies. Although the dormant commerce clause was first developed to protect corporations involved in commerce rather than individuals negatively affected by products, Klein said that once a Commerce Clause violation occurred any party affected has standing.

Klein took issue with the majority's finding that even if Crown Cork received an advantage an out-of-state company would not have, it wasn't a substantial loss to the plaintiffs because there were other joint tortfeasors against whom the plaintiffs could collect. He said that argument puts the cart before the horse because there hadn't yet been any showing or determination of liability for other companies.

The plaintiffs who want to challenge the statute are executors of the estates of three people who died of asbestos-related mesothelioma. They sued Crown Cork and a number of other companies. All of the companies aside from Crown Cork settled. CrownCork filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing it was protected from liability under Section 1929. The trial court rejected the appellants' constitutional challenges and ruled in favor of Crown Cork.

CrownCork, a bottle-cap and can company, bought Mundet Cork Corp. in 1963 and sold Mundet's asbestos-related division within 90 days of that purchase.

"Despite this fleeting involvement with asbestos, in the ensuing years Crown has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in asbestos-related claims," Lally-Green said. "The value of those claims far exceeds the fair market value of Mundet Cork itself."

Thomas Leonard of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel argued the case for Crown Cork. He said the ruling would allow Crown Cork to terminate its involvement in asbestos litigation around the state. The company had a similar ruling inPhiladelphia and was pulling out of those cases, but the Superior Court's decision allows Crown Cork to exit the litigation across the state.

Steven Cooperstein of Brookman Rosenberg Brown & Sandler represented the appellants. He said they would definitely appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"I'm quite puzzled as to how my clients, whose claims against Crown Cork & Seal were dismissed, were found not to have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the statute that caused the dismissals," he said.

A previous version of the statute, and both attorneys, have been up to the state's high court before. Cooperstein represented plaintiffs inIeropoli v. AC&S Corp. The Supreme Court ruled the older version of the statute was unconstitutional under the Remedies Clause of the state constitution because it extinguished existing causes of action. The Legislature then passed the current version, which doesn't bar claims where the statute of limitations started on or before the statute's effective date.

For the plaintiffs in Johnson, all of the statutes of limitations began running after the statute's effective date, according to the opinion.

Cooperstein said Crown Cork is the only company he knows of that has stepped forward and said it falls under Section 1929. This ruling won't have that great of an effect on other cases because of the statute's narrow tailoring, but Cooperstein said he is concerned the Legislature could make additional changes that would have a greater effect but could not be challenged under the precedent set in Johnson.

(Copies of the 27-page opinion inJohnson v. American Standard, PICS No. 09-0236, are available fromThe Legal Intelligencer. Please call the Pennsylvania Instant Case Service at 800-276-PICS to order or for information. Some cases are not available until 1 p.m.)

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202428178179&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

 
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Wis. Supreme Court decision deals blow to insurers

Wisconsin Supreme Court decision deals blow to insurers in asbestos, environmental cases

,On Thursday January 29, 2009, 4:40 pm EST

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An insurer must pay the full costs of hundreds of asbestos-related lawsuits filed against a Wisconsin manufacturing company, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decision is a victory for Sheboygan-based Plastics Engineering Co., a setback for Liberty Mutual Group, and will have broad impact on future insurance litigation inWisconsin.

Companies ordered to clean up environmental contamination and those facing lawsuits for making products containing asbestos will enjoy greater insurance coverage because of the ruling, lawyers said.

Lawyers representing small businesses and environmentalists hailed the ruling, which was seen as a victory for paper companies trying to make insurers pay for the cleanup of the Fox River in northeasternWisconsin.

Plastics Engineering, a family-owned plastics company that goes by the name Plenco, made molding compounds that contained asbestos between 1950 and 1983 at itsWisconsin plant. The compounds were widely used in manufacturing, and hundreds of people claiming illness or wrongful death after being exposed to cancer-causing asbestos have sued Plenco.

Liberty Mutual, the company's insurance carrier dating back to the 1960s, paid $14.3 million in damages related to the cases through 2005. But the Boston-based insurer then tried to get out of paying future costs by arguing its policies limited coverage.

Plenco claimed the interpretation would reduce its coverage from about $73 million to $10 million, and the dispute ended up in federal court. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals referred the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court because of its significance in shapingWisconsin law.

Liberty argued the claims should be considered "one occurrence," which would limit the damages, because they were caused by a single mistake: the manufacture and sale of asbestos-tainted products.Liberty also claimed it should not be responsible for costs related to injuries that happened while it was not Plenco's insurer.

The Supreme Court rejected those arguments Thursday. In a majority decision written by Justice Annette Ziegler, the court said each person injured must be treated as a separate occurrence andLiberty has to pay the full cost of defending and compensating victims up to its policy limits.

Jeff Davis, aMilwaukee lawyer who represented Plenco, said the decision increases coverage for his client and any company involved in environmental or asbestos litigation.

"It's a great result for Plastics Engineering and allWisconsin insureds," he said. "It's an issue that has come up around the country in litigation, andWisconsin had not yet weighed in on it."

Liberty Mutual spokesman John Cusolito said the company had no comment.

Davis also said the decision was good news for paper companies who are trying to get insurers to pay for the cleanup of PCB pollution in the lowerFox River.

Just last week, aBrownCounty judge upheld a jury verdict that nine insurers are liable for the costs through their contracts with paper company Appleton. The companies could be required to pay as much as $750 million, but they are appealing the decision.

Thursday's decision could help speed up the cleanup of contaminated properties by making more money available faster, according to Midwestern Environmental Advocates, a Madison-based nonprofit.

It also will help businesses facing large liability costs stay in business, said lawyer William Mulligan, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief for the National Federation of Independent Business.

"It will become a significant supporting argument for them in pursuing coverage on those types of claims," he said.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Wis-Supreme-Court-decision-apf-14200630.html

 
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Michigan woman and husband sue over asbestos in Madison County
10/28/2008 1:30 PM By Kelly Holleran 

AMichigan woman and her husband have filed an asbestos suit 17 defendant corporations, claiming the mesothelioma with which the woman was diagnosed was wrongfully caused.

Carolyn S. and Dana Berry claim Carolyn was diagnosed with the disease April 25, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 23 in Madison County Circuit Court.

They claim her disease was caused after she was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers.

They say Carolyn was exposed to the asbestos fibers through clothing Dana would wear home from work.

Dana worked from 1960 until 2003 as an auto mechanic, the suit states.

They state Carolyn's exposure was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.

TheBerrys allege the asbestos-related disease disabled and disfigured Carolyn and has caused substantial medical costs. Carolyn also has and will continue to experience physical pain and mental anguish, they claim in the lawsuit.

Mesothelioma hindered and prevented Carolyn from pursuing her normal course of employment, according to the suit.

As a result, she lost large sums of money, theBerrys claim.

Because of the disease, Dana claims he has been deprived of the companionship, society and services of Carolyn.

In the six-count lawsuit, the couple is seeking sums in excess of $100,000, punitive and exemplary damages in excess of $100,000, compensatory damages in excess of $100,000 and for other relief the Court deems appropriate.

They also seek punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish Sprinkmann Sons Corporation and Sprinkmann Insulation, Inc. for their misconduct and to deter similarly situated parties from committing like acts in the future.

They are represented by Randy L. Gori of Gori, Julian & Associates inAlton and by W. Mark Lanier, Patrick N. Haines, C. Taylor Campbell and W. Casey Harris of The Lanier Law Firm inHouston.

http://www.stclairrecord.com/news/215566-michigan-woman-and-husband-sue-over-asbestos-in-madison-county

 
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Californian says 60 corporations responsible for mesothelioma
9/23/2008 8:59 AM By Kelly Holleran 

ACalifornia woman has filed an asbestos suit on behalf of her recently deceased husband against 60 defendant corporations, claiming the mesothelioma with which he was diagnosed was wrongfully caused.

Virginia Schmidt claims Oswald Schmidt was diagnosed with the disease Dec. 12, according to a lawsuit filed Sept. 19 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Virginia says her husband worked from 1949 until 1989 as a welder at various locations throughoutIllinois andKansas, according to the lawsuit.

Virginia states Oswald's exposure was foreseeable and should have been anticipated by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.

She claims his disease was caused after he was exposed to and inhaled, ingested or otherwise absorbed asbestos fibers.

Virginia alleges the asbestos-related disease caused Oswald to incur substantial medical costs. Oswald also experienced great physical pain and mental anguish as a result of the disease,Virginia claims in the lawsuit.

Mesothelioma hindered and prevented Oswald from pursuing his normal course of employment, according to the suit.

As a result, he lost large sums of money,Virginia claims.

Because of Oswald's death, his family has been deprived of his support and has lost his society, the suit states.

His family spent substantial amounts on funeral and burial costs, according to the complaint.

In the 11-count lawsuit,Virginia seeks sums in excess of $350,000 and compensatory damages in excess of $200,000.

She also seeks punitive damages in an amount sufficient to punish the defendants for heir misconduct and to deter similarly situated parties from committing like acts of misconduct in the future.

http://www.madisonrecord.com/news/214931-californian-says-60-corporations-responsible-for-mesothelioma

 
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Settlement reached in Pembroke asbestos removal suit

By Steve Annear - Thu Aug 21, 2008, 01:35 PM EDTStumbleUpon

Pembroke -  

Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office reached a settlement with Sears, Roebuck and Co. regarding alleged violations of the Massachusetts Clean Air Act and the Consumer Protection Act on Tuesday after the company allegedly improperly removed asbestos from a home onWampatuck Street in October 2004.

According to a press release from Coakley’s office, Sears must pay a civil penalty of $55,000 to the State and adopt policies and practices aimed at preventing improper asbestos removal in the future.

“The improper removal and handling of asbestos is a serious matter which potentially exposes families and workers to a known carcinogen,” said Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Laurie Burt. “Businesses that fail to follow the asbestos regulations will end up paying significant penalties, as well as higher costs for expanded cleanup and decontamination work.”

According to the complaint filed Suffolk Superior Court, in 2004 Blane and Rachel Provost contacted Sears to request an estimate for removing their existing boiler, which contained white insulation made of asbestos, and installation of a new boiler.

After a Sears representative assured the Provosts that Sears could do the job at an affordable price, he hired two subcontractors to perform the boiler replacement job. The Provosts were assured these subcontractors would be properly licensed and trained.

The Sears representative hired a plumber and a second subcontractor to remove the boiler from the Provost home. According to reports, however, neither was licensed, qualified or trained to handle or remove asbestos.

“Homeowners and their families should not be faced with a health risk when they purchase common household appliances like a new boiler,” said Coakley. “Asbestos removal requirements were enacted to protect public health and safety. Businesses who are contracted to perform work inside residential homes must properly train and supervise their employees so that homeowners are given accurate information and not put at risk.”

At no time prior to the removal of the boiler did Sears or the subcontractors notify the Department of Environmental Protection or file an Asbestos Notification Form, letting them know the boiler was being removed and who was removing it, or how much asbestos-containing waste material there was and where it would be disposed.

According to the formal complaint, in the process of dismantling the existing boiler to replace it with a newer one, the plumber and his assistant dropped it on its side, and the boiler was left on the basement floor with its chamber exposed. The old boiler remained fragmented and dismantled in the basement of the Provosts’ home, and asbestos-ridden material was scattered over the basement floor. When cleanup began, the subcontractors scooped up the waste with their bare hands and placed it in ordinary black trash bags. Both the basement and first floor had “a hazy asbestos dust in the air.”

The settlement requires Sears to develop and implement a customized asbestos training program for salespeople and managers and provide enhanced supervision on all jobs where asbestos may be present.

The Provosts could not be reached for comment.

http://www.wickedlocal.com/pembroke/news/x560275069/Settlement-reached-in-Pembroke-asbestos-removal-suit

 
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