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BuffaloNew York – 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”
The verdicts 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.
Buffalo New York – $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.