Jury finds asbestos products manufacturers liable for mesothelioma death, awards $7.2 million

3 Apr 2014 by under Legal, News

Gavel Scales of Justice American flag square 100x100 Jury finds asbestos products manufacturers liable for mesothelioma death, awards $7.2 millionA Philadelphia County jury found in favor of the family of Edward Merwitz, a former shipfitter who died of mesothelioma at age 62. The lawsuit alleged Merwitz was exposed to asbestos-containing products while working on ships between the years of 1965 and 1970.

Asbestos exposure is linked to the development of a number of asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis, a severe scarring of the lungs; lung cancer; and mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that most often attacks the lining of the lungs or abdomen. There is no known cure for mesothelioma. When asbestos is broken or crushed, it releases microscopic fibers that can be inhaled or ingested.

During the course of the two-week trial, all but one of the nine asbestos manufacturers who were defendants settled with the family. One manufacturer, RSCC Wire & Cable, which was formerly called Rockbestos Surprenant Cable Corporation, proceeded to trial. The jury awarded $3.6 million in survival damages and $3.6 million in punitive damages for wrongful death. RSCC will be responsible for $805,250 of those damages.

During his work as a shipfitter, Merwitz handled asbestos-containing products including gaskets, pumps, electric motors, turbines, control boxes, electric wire, pipe covering, and insulation. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2010 and his family filed the lawsuit on his behalf in November 2010.

According to a report in the Examiner, as part of its defense, RSCC lawyers said, “Merwitz could not have been exposed to its asbestos-containing products frequently enough to have been a significant contributing factor to his mesothelioma development.”

However, experts have long maintained that even people with very limited exposure to asbestos have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and maintain there is no “safe” level of asbestos exposure. It takes only one microscopic fiber to create serious and lasting health risks.

Other defendants in the case who the jury found liable for “substantially contributing to Merwitz’s asbestos-related disease” were Buffalo Pumps, Westinghouse, Blackmer Pumps, General Electric Company, Greene Tweed & Company, Square D Company, and Warren Pumps LLC.

Lawrence R. Cohan of AnapolSchwartz represented the Merwitz family in the case. Judge Victor Dinubile presided.

Sources:

Washington Examiner
Legal Newsline

One Response to “Jury finds asbestos products manufacturers liable for mesothelioma death, awards $7.2 million”

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