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Mesothelioma victim's family wins $7.25 million verdict

The estate and family of a shipyard worker who died from mesothelioma won a $7.25 million verdict on March 13, 2014 against a variety of companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products. The verdict is good news for residents in North Carolina who suffer from mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos fibers.

The verdict was rendered by a jury in Philadelphia in favor of the estate and family of a man who was exposed to asbestos fibers when he worked in the Naval Shipyard from 1965 to 1970. He died at age 62, only six months after being diagnosed with the fatal disease.

All but one of the defendants in the case reached a settlement with the plaintiffs before trial. The amounts of these settlements are confidential. The only defendant to appear at trial was a company formerly known as "Rockbestos," now known as RSCC Wire & Cable LLC. According to the plaintiff's attorney, Rockbestos offered $2,500 to settle the case before trial but will now be required to pay its share of the verdict, approximately $805,500.

The verdict in this case shows that juries are sympathetic to persons who have been exposed to asbestos without their knowledge or consent. Most asbestos exposure has occurred in the workplace, where the material was widely used as insulation and in valve gaskets and similar applications. Ingesting even a few asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma or the related disease, asbestosis. This case also demonstrates that juries understand the enormous suffering endured by the victims' families both while the victim is alive and after the victim dies.

Source: The Inquirer, "Jury awards $7.25 million in asbestos case," Julie Shaw, March 14, 2014

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