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El PasoTexas – $5.2 Million Mesothelioma Verdict
Worker's Family Wins $5.2 Million Asbestos Verdict
Feb 24, 2004 | AP A 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 inEl 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.
The jury 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.
February 25, 2004 -Texas jury awards asbestos victim $5.2M
ATexas jury has ordered an insulation manufacturer to pay the family of a deceased refinery 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