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Companies Ordered to Pay Mesothelioma Victim $32.8 Million Over Defective Respirator

Three companies have been ordered to pay a mesothelioma victim and his wife $32.8 million over a defective respirator.

In 2015, the victim and former machinist was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma—the second most common type of mesothelioma. The victim (plaintiff) worked at Foundry Service & Supplies from 1972 to 1992. The Torrance, California-based machine shop provided an R2090 respirator manufactured by American Optical Corporation to protect the plaintiff from asbestos at work. According to the plaintiff, the respirator was defective and provided substandard protection against the asbestos dust he was exposed to daily. 

Per a Pacer Monitor (PM) report, following his diagnosis, the plaintiff sued American Optical Corp. and several other companies. While many of the defendants settled out of court or had their cases dismissed, the suits against American Optical Corp. and Los Angeles Rubber Co. moved forward. Before the introduction of evidence, Los Angeles Rubber Co. resolved the claims against it. The case continued against American Optical Corp. on the claims of negligence, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn, intentional misrepresentation, and concealment.

To treat his mesothelioma, the plaintiff underwent six rounds of systemic chemotherapy, as well as a treatment known as cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The procedure involves filling the abdominal cavity with chemotherapy drugs that have been heated. It is considered one of the most effective treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma.  

The plaintiff, age 62, sought damages totaling $1.8 million and additional damages for past and future pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s wife, age 60, sought recovery of damages for loss of consortium. The couple also sought recovery of punitive damages.

A Los Angeles County jury found American Optical 70% liable for the plaintiff’s mesothelioma. Two non-parties, Foundry Service & Supplies and 3M, were found 20% and 5% liable, respectively. The award included $4 million for personal Injury: past pain and suffering; $8 million for personal injury: future pain and suffering; and $1.8 million for personal injury: economic damages (stipulated). The plaintiff’s wife was awarded an additional $6 million for personal injury: future loss of consortium and $3 million for personal Injury: past loss of consortium. The jury awarded an additional $10 million in punitive damages, for a total of $32.8 million.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Your doctor can refer you to a specialist, who can assess your risk and if necessary, establish a monitoring plan that could help detect the mesothelioma sooner. Although there is no cure for the disease, early detection could lead to better treatment options and long-term survival. See your doctor to assess you risk today.

 

Sources

"Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC offers effective treatment for selected patients with peritoneal carcinomatosis." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), 1998-2019. Web. 10 May 2019.

“Louis Tyler et al v. American Optical Corporation, et al.” Pacer Monitor. Fitch Solutions Service, 21 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 May 2019.

“Machinist: Respirator did not protect him from asbestos.” Verdict Search. ALM Intelligence, ALM Media Properties, 26 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 May 2019.