A major manufacturer has been ordered to pay the wife and surviving children of a mesothelioma victim more than $5.8 million. A California court found the manufacturer negligent and responsible for more than $1.9 million in noneconomic damages, over $400,000 in economic damages, and $3.5 million in punitive damages.
The victim, a California man, said that he began changing brakes at age 13. This was his first exposure to asbestos. From his teen years on, the man worked at gas stations where he repaired brakes and clutches, in maintenance where he worked around steam pipes and asbestos insulation, and he installed asbestos cement pipe at various sites while working for a plumbing company. The man also repaired his own brakes and clutches throughout his life.
Before the victim’s death at the age of 59, he named 25 defendants. Many settled out of court. After his death, just two remained. One defendant was granted nonsuit during the jury trial. The other (one of the world’s largest producers of commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems) was not.
The company had taken over the 90-year-old brake charging and control systems manufacturing firm that produced many of the asbestos-containing products to which the California man had been exposed. Though the company fought hard to win the case, in the end, the jury agreed with the victim and his family. The company appealed the judgement, only to face reaffirmation by the court.
"California Court of Appeal Case and Opinions." Findlaw.com. FindLaw, A Thomson Reuters Business, 17 Mar. 2017. Web. 01 June 2017.