Asbestos liability litigation underway in North Carolina

5 Aug 2013 by under Events, Legal, News

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Asbestos liability litigation underway in North CarolinaA case currently underway in front of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges in Charlotte, N.C., will determine the of Garlock Sealing Technologies for injuries sustained by future victims of asbestos exposure. Garlock already has paid at least $1.3 billion in asbestos-related damages.

The company seeks to limit its liability to current and future asbestos victims to $270 million, which it would set up in a trust fund to cover any future claims. However, attorneys representing asbestos victims nationwide say the company’s liability is at least another $1.3 billion.

Garlock makes gaskets and seals for industries including petrochemicals, power generation, mining and pharmaceuticals. Its products have been shown to contain asbestos.

Asbestos exposure – even in tiny amounts for extremely short periods of time – has been linked to the development of asbestos disease and mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs or abdomen, or, in some rare cases, the lining of the heart. There is no known cure for mesothelioma.

Litigation surrounding asbestos exposure and liability has been ongoing in the U.S. for about 25 years, with billions of dollars paid to the victims. Lawyers have demonstrated that companies knew about the dangers of asbestos exposure as early as the 1930s, but the substance was still used in a variety of manufacturing processes through the 1960s. It was also used extensively in commercial and residential buildings, in insulation and as a fire retardant, as late as the 1980s. Asbestos is still not banned in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report more than 30,000 deaths from mesothelioma and , another asbestos-related disease, from 1998-2007.

In July, a New York jury found two companies, Burnham and Cleaver-Brooks, liable for injuries and deaths of workers exposed to asbestos on the job. The jury awarded the five victims, three of whom were deceased, a verdict of $190 million.

The largest previous settlement related to asbestos liability in North Carolina came in 1999, when Duke Energy established an $800 million trust to cover asbestos claims.

Source: Charlotte Observer

One Response to “Asbestos liability litigation underway in North Carolina”

  1. Adam Smith

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