A Los Angeles County jury has awarded a former pipefitter and his son $8.45 million in an asbestos case against a boiler manufacturer. The verdict is believed to be the largest ever against the company.
A career pipefitter and plumber, the plaintiff worked in Michigan from 1969 through 1976 installing and maintaining boilers in single-family residential homes. The heating and plumbing company the plaintiff worked for only installed boilers made by the defendant, so installation and maintenance work performed by the plaintiff was mostly performed on the defendant’s boilers.
Testimony in the case showed that the boiler manufacturer used insulating cement that consisted of 100% chrysotile asbestos—the most commonly encountered form of asbestos in the U.S. The original packaging came with a warning label, but the boiler manufacturer repackaged the cement in smaller paper bags and shipped them to customers along with the boilers.
The plaintiff said he was exposed to the asbestos insulation when he mixed and applied it to the boilers during installation. Without the warning labels, the plaintiff unknowingly breathed in asbestos fibers, which contributed to his mesothelioma. The plaintiff’s work also involved cleaning off the old asbestos gaskets with a wire brush and a putty knife, before installing new ones.
Decades later, in October 2014, the plaintiff was diagnosed with mesothelioma. After battling the disease for 16 months, the plaintiff died, leaving behind his son and a long-time partner.
On August 28, 2019, the LA County jury found that the defendant acted with gross negligence for its part in causing the plaintiff’s mesothelioma and subsequent death, and awarded $8.45 million to the former pipefitter and plumber and his son. The plaintiff was awarded $2.75 million for pain and suffering and his son was awarded $1.5 million for past lost service, companionship, parental training, guidance, and society. The son was also awarded $4.2 million for future loss. The jury assigned 60% liability to the boiler manufacturer, making the company responsible for $5.070 million of the $8.45 million award.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Your doctor can administer special tests to help assess your risk of developing mesothelioma and set up a monitoring plan that could help detect mesothelioma sooner and in its most treatable stages. See your doctor for an evaluation today.
“Chrysotile Asbestos.” Who.int. World Health Organization (WHO). 2014. Web. 24 Sep. 2018.
Leadersinthelaw.com. Leaders in the Law. 11 Sep. 2018. Web. 24 Sep. 2018.
Leagle.com, Leagle, Inc., 2017. Web. 24 Sep. 2018.