An Anderson County, South Carolina jury has awarded the widow of a former pipefitter $5.13 million in damages. The plaintiff in the case, Thomas Glenn, worked on and around pumps, gaskets, valves, and other equipment at five separate Duke Energy facilities from the 1970s through the 2000s. Per a Free Library report, “the gaskets typically got stuck to rims and had to be taken off with either a scraper, wire brush or a power grinder.” According to a co-worker, Glenn spent months over the course of a year grinding and drilling off this coating.
Glenn was diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2014 and died of the disease just two months later in February 2015. Mr. Glenn’s widow filed suit five months later in July 2015, with several co-workers agreeing to testify on his behalf.
Gaskets are made up of about 85% asbestos, so attorneys for Glenn and his widow argued that the removal of the gaskets caused a substantial health hazard to Glenn and to those working around him. This was “known and foreseeable” to valve manufacturers like Fisher and Crosby long before Glenn ever worked with their products.
The defendants didn’t deny that their products contained asbestos. They argued that the type of asbestos in their products (chrysotile asbestos) was not the dangerous type of asbestos and it was safe. But the defendants also argued that Duke should have warned its employees about the dangers of asbestos. The jury rejected the defendant’s arguments, handing down the verdict against Fisher Controls International LLC (Fisher) on January 24, 2019.
With former Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court Judge Jean Toal presiding over the trial, the jury found that “Fisher breached an implied warranty in the sale of its valves. That breach was found to be a factor in causing Mr. Glenn’s mesothelioma. Co-defendants Carboline Co. and Crosby Valve LLC were found not liable. In addition, Fisher was hit with $2.1 million in punitive damages for what the jury found to be willful, wanton or reckless conduct.”
Asbestos Exposure and Your Health
There is no safe level of asbestos exposure, so if you have been exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, you are at risk of developing mesothelioma. Because it could take years for mesothelioma to develop, it is often diagnosed in the later stages of the disease. Late state disease is difficult to treat and impossible to cure.
The good news is, if you see your doctor right away, he can refer you to a specialist who will assess your risk, administer tests, and set up a monitoring plan that could help detect mesothelioma sooner. Early detection could lead to better treatment options and outcomes, so schedule an appointment to see your doctor today.
Cresenzo, Bill. “Mesothelioma victim wins $5.13M jury verdict.” South Carolina Lawyers Weekly. South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, 13 Feb. 2019. Web. 19 Mar. 2019.
Cresenzo, Bill. "Mesothelioma victim wins $5.13M jury verdict." The Free Library. Farlex, Inc., 13 Feb. 2019. Web. 19 Mar. 2019.