Jury awards $8.8 million in Bell Helicopter asbestos exposure case

31 Mar 2017 by under Legal

445px Altan 100x100 Jury awards $8.8 million in Bell Helicopter asbestos exposure caseA jury in award $8.8 million to the family of a Bell Helicopter employee who died from , a deadly cancer that can affect the lining of the heart, lungs or abdomen and is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos was once used in many manufacturing and construction products for its heat resistance and flexibility before it was found to be a human carcinogen.

Billy Dickson, a mechanical engineer at Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. for 38 years, died in 2013 at age 74 from mesothelioma complications. After a week-long trial and five hours of deliberation, jurors found “clear and convincing evidence” that Bell Helicopter was “grossly negligent” in exposing him to asbestos, according to PR Newswire. Trial testimony shows Dickson was exposed to 200 times the government safety standards for asbestos exposure, and Bell Helicopter knew it was exposing employees to dangerous asbestos levels eight years before he began working for the company.

“There was not a company-based respiratory protection policy in place during the time of Billy’s exposure. Asbestos air concentrations were so high that Mr. Dickson often found himself surrounded in clouds of asbestos dust,” said attorney Darren McDowell, one of two attorneys who represented the Dickson family. “It was an ungodly amount of asbestos exposure.”

Though it is not completely banned in the United States as it is in more than 50 countries around the world, the Environmental Protection Agency now has strict workplace regulations to prevent on-the-job asbestos exposure, which, as the Dickson’s case shows, can have devastating consequences decades later.

 

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