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Louisville Kentucky – 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 a verdict 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 of lung 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