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Court overturns record-setting $322 million verdict

Last year, a judge ruled that one man would receive $322 million for damages related to asbestos. It was the largest amount awarded to a single plaintiff in the United States. Unfortunately, the company that was sued appealed the decision and the case was retried. On the second round, the company won their case. How could this happen?

It started with a man who made claims that he had inhaled asbestos fibers while working for Union Carbide Corp. He mixed drilling mud that was made by the company. Now, years later, he has greatly suffered from this exposure and he must take oxygen 24 hours a day. He filed a lawsuit against the company and initially won.

However, the company claims that the judge in the case was biased and they wanted him removed from the case. According to documents, years ago, when the judge was an attorney, his parents were involved in a lawsuit against Union Carbide Corp. The company claimed there was clear prejudice in the ruling and wanted it thrown out.

Another judge agreed with the company and requested that there be another trial with a new judge. It was in that second trial that a jury ruled in favor of the company, not the victim. It is unclear what reasoning they had for siding with the company.

The trouble in some of these cases is that companies who are facing allegations of wrongful death and substantial fines will go to great lengths to avoid taking responsibility. They may have a lot of money and resources. This is why victims of asbestos exposure should seek experienced legal support as soon as possible. A good lawyer will have significant experience in tracking down the source of exposure and holding those negligent companies accountable for the damage they have done.

Source: Sun-Herald, "Firm wins 2nd asbestos suit," Holbrook Mohr, April 27, 2012

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