A healthy individual can contract a disease after being exposed to a dangerous material. One particularly dangerous material is asbestos. There are a number of different severe and fatal illnesses such as cancer and mesothelioma that can result from asbestos exposure.
Victims of asbestos-related diseases often have to deal with pain and suffering while watching their medical expenses grow over time. In some cases, family members are forced to watch the disease take over their loved one until it kills them. Victims and their family members can file a lawsuit against the negligent manufacturer or employer who may not have warned of the risk of exposure. But these lawsuits can be complicated and take time.
Earlier this year, an asbestos victim was awarded one of the largest settlements to date for an individual. The victim was a man who worked on an oil rig. He was exposed to asbestos while working on the oil rig and was not aware of the situation, even though both employers allegedly knew of the dangers. He suffered permanent long-term injuries as a result.
But after the award was announced, the defendant appealed claiming that the trial was unfair. The basis of the argument was that the judge who oversaw the trial had a loved one who suffered from asbestosis, the same disease as the man who brought the claim.
Now just last week, the judge was disqualified from the case, likely because the issue raised concerns regarding the judge’s ability to be impartial. While the verdict of the claim has not been addressed, the case is at a stand-still until another judge takes over.
Source: Bloomberg Businessweek: “Union Carbide Judge Removed From $322 Million-Verdict Case,” Andrew Harris, Oct. 6, 2011