Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania farmer awarded $38 million in mesothelioma case

Injuries from violent car accidents are often obvious from the time they occur. Harm caused by long exposure to a poisonous substance can take years to surface. A condition may be irreversible by the time a disease surfaces from dormancy and establishes diagnosable symptoms.

A man with less than a year to live and his wife of more than five decades were awarded $38 million in a liability lawsuit. A Pennsylvania jury found three manufacturers negligent for making products containing asbestos, a known cause of the plaintiff's diagnosed mesothelioma cancer.

Twenty-seven million dollars in punitive damages made up the bulk of the award, spread unequally among the defendants. Crane Co. and Durco each were ordered to pay $11 million in punitive damages. The remaining $5 million was owed by equipment maker Bryan Jackson.

Another $11 million in actual damages was added to the total, including a $1 million loss of consortium award to the plaintiff's wife. The man's personal damages reflected a request to compensate the plaintiff $1 million for every year the fatal disease would cut short the man's life, estimated to be about a decade.

The 74-year-old plaintiff was unable to attend the Richland County trial due to a diagnosis of double pneumonia. The one-time heavy equipment operator supplied court testimony and interacted with personal injury attorneys by video.

The Wagener plaintiff explained he was repeatedly exposed to the defendants' asbestos-made gaskets, valves and pumps while working at home on a farm and on equipment operator jobs. The man's said the companies knew asbestos was a hazardous material but chose to incorporate the material into their products, without regard to the safety of others.

Many mesothelioma victims have no idea of the harm done to them until decades pass after asbestos exposure. Compensation for asbestos injuries, even late in life, serve to ease a patient's death and benefit surviving family members.

Source:, "Richland County jury awards $38 million in asbestos case" John Monk, Sep. 12, 2013

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