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

$10.9 million awarded to mesothelioma victim's family

Allegheny County employees may be retired before former workers learn the jobs they once did caused permanent damage to their health. Even short-term asbestos exposure in a workplace eventually can lead to an incurable disease. The risk of developing cancer or other asbestos-related diseases increases with each exposure to asbestos fibers.

Honeywell/Bendix has been ordered to pay $10.9 million to the family of a man who died of pleural mesothelioma. The American Cancer Society describes mesothelioma as a kind of cancer that initially attacks cells in the protective lining of internal parts of the body. Pleural mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, is a cancer that originates in the chest cavity and lungs.

The victim of the disease in this case was a plumber who also worked with automotive products starting in the 1960s. The products emitted asbestos dust, which the man inhaled repeatedly while working on vehicles and with heavy equipment. The 59-year-old man died in 2013, less than a year after learning he had the cancer.

The lawsuit was filed while the mesothelioma sufferer was alive in May 2012, two months after the diagnosis. The defendant, Bendix, which is part of Honeywell, made linings and pads for brakes that were made with asbestos. Other defendants originally named in the claim were dropped before the case reached trial.

Jury deliberations stretched over six days before the verdict was reached. Honeywell/Bendix was found 30 percent liable for contributing to the worker's death. The judgment included $7.4 million for actual damages and an additional $3.5 million in punitive damages -- punishment for the defendant's reckless disregard of the victim's safety and health.

Asbestos exposure has been linked to up to 90 percent of mesothelioma cases. Despite this, asbestos continues to be used to make numerous products. Victims of asbestos injuries have a right to file claims to recover compensation from the parties who have harmed them.

Source: Legal Newsline Legal Journal, "Fresno jury awards first mesothelioma verdict, $10.9M against Honeywell/Bendix" Heather Isringhausen Gvillo, Jun. 04, 2014

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Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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