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The process of litigation can be quite emotional. When a person is also suffering from a fatal disease, it can be even more so. A man who has been involved in a dramatic lawsuit against his former employer has certainly had his ups and downs. The victim was initially awarded $322 million in damages after he developed asbestosis on the job. However, the ruling was dismissed after the original judge was removed from the case.
According to the reports, the man worked for Union Carbide where he was exposed to and inhaled asbestos dust while mixing mud for the company. He developed asbestosis as a result and now must take oxygen 24-hours a day.
At the completion of the trial, a jury awarded over $300 million to the victim. It was the largest amount ever awarded to a single victim of asbestos exposure.
However, the victory was short-lived. Not long after the verdict, Union Carbide requested that the Supreme Court remove the judge from the case. The company claims that the judge’s father had previously sued Union Carbide for $1 million for damages resulting from asbestosis, the same disease the current plaintiff suffers from.
Union Carbide claims that the judge showed bias and prejudice against the company during the ruling which may have affected the jury’s decision to award such a high amount.
The judge was removed and another was appointed to take over. The new judge quickly vacated all rulings and orders from the original case.
The man must now go through the legal process again April. Many are very hopeful and confident that he will recover the same level of compensation for his pain and suffering that he initially received since it was the jury, not the judge, who awarded the damages. Companies like Union Carbide who are found to be responsible for exposing their employees to asbestos should be held accountable for their actions.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “US judge tosses $322M asbestos lawsuit verdict,” January 3, 2012
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