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Appeal Denied. Railroad Company Ordered to Pay Asbestos Victim's Family More than $50,000

A railroad company has been found at least partially responsible for a deceased workers mesothelioma. The daughter of the former railroad worker filed a lawsuit on behalf of her father, seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. A jury found that the deceased had indeed incurred $250,000 in damages, but that the railroad company was only liable for 20%, or $50,000. The victim was found to be 80% responsible for the development of his own mesothelioma.

Though it was found just partly responsible for damages, the railroad company wasn’t satisfied with the ruling, stating that it believed that the worker had received nearly $75,000 from asbestos trusts and other companies before his death. The company argued in a supplemental brief that the Mississippi Supreme Court should follow federal common law and allow a defendant to offset a Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) asbestos-related lung cancer award with recoveries the plaintiff received from asbestos bankruptcy trusts.

The court rejected the company’s argument, upholding the $50,000 ruling with an additional 8% interest.

The railroad company tried, once again, to appeal the ruling, but it was struck down by the court, which said the “laws do not allow for a defendant to avoid payment of damages based on compensation to the plaintiff from a third party that was not a party to the action.”

Railroad Workers and Asbestos Exposure

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital conducted a study titled “Past Exposure to Asbestos Among Active Railroad Workers.” In the study, the researchers reported that before the transition from steam- to diesel-powered locomotives during the 1950s, older railroad workers with jobs associated with the repair of steam locomotives had the opportunity for significant occupational exposure to asbestos. Because even a small amount of asbestos exposure could lead to mesothelioma, all workers employed by railroad companies before the 1950s (and possibly later) are at risk.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early diagnosis could lead to better treatment options and outcomes.

 

Sources

Garshick, E., M. B. Schenker, S. R. Woskie, and F. E. Speizer. "Past Exposure to Asbestos among Active Railroad Workers." American Journal of Industrial Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2018.

"Railroad Asks Mississippi High Court To Allow Setoff Of FELA Asbestos Verdict." Lexis Legal News. LexisNexis, 12 Sept. 2017. Web. 14 Feb. 2018.