The widow of a former school bus driver and janitor has been awarded more than $3 million in yet another bystander asbestos-exposure case. The bus driver’s widow filed suit on behalf of her husband who she says was exposed to asbestos in the bus garage at the school where he routinely spent time during his bus runs. The exposure, she said, was the result of breathing in asbestos-containing dust from brakes and gaskets manufactured by Navistar, Inc.
In 2014, a jury initially awarded the plaintiff $7.7 million, which consisted of $3 million in conscious pain and suffering, $3 million in emotional pain and suffering between the onset of the decedent’s disease and his death, and $1 million for wrongful death from the date of death until the date of the verdict. The award also included $500,000 for wrongful death from the date of verdict until the time decedent would have otherwise been expected to live, and $200,000 for loss of services and society from the onset of the decedent’s disease until death.
Some of the most disadvantageous testimony to the defendants case came from Dr. Abraham who testified that “both long (greater than five microns) and short fibers, found in brake dust cause mesothelioma, and that even if a small percentage of such fibers are greater than five microns, they would still be in the millions. He further testified that the levels of such asbestos measured in the air in the vicinity of brake work were at least 10,000 times above background levels of asbestos, which would be sufficient to cause mesothelioma.”
Navistar attorneys argued that this testimony should be stricken based on what they said was a “lack of epidemiological studies showing an increased risk of mesothelioma in auto mechanics.” In addition, the company also requested a new trial. Both requests (among others) were denied. However, Navistar did succeeded in getting the verdict reduced. On November 8, 2017, the award reduced, leaving the plaintiff with $3.47 million. The biggest reduction was to the wrongful death portion of the award, which was reduced to $270,000 from $1.5 million.
Although the award was significantly reduced, at $3.47 million, it is still considered a win for the plaintiff and future asbestos victims.
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace or other environment, see your doctor right away. Though there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection could lead to better treatment options and increased survival.
“Justice Reduces, But Otherwise Affirms Asbestos Verdict For Bus Driver." Lexis Legal News. LexisNexis, 21 Nov. 2017. Web. 06 Dec. 2017.
Supreme Court of the State of New York.