Families of Workers Exposed to Asbestos Awarded $9.25Million

A Louisiana jury awarded $9.25 million to the families of two\r\nExxon Corp. refinery workers who died of mesothelioma because they\r\nwere exposed to asbestos on the job.

A Louisiana jury awarded $9.25 million to the families of two Exxon Corp. refinery workers who died of mesothelioma because they were exposed to asbestos on the job.

After 12 hours of deliberations, the jury found that Exxon and several manufacturers of asbestos-containing products negligently exposed the two workers to asbestos.

Exxon was the only defendant that did not settle prior to the trial.

The workers'' families claimed Exxon knew the dangers associated with asbestos exposure, but concealed the information for more than 30 years.

Robert Harold Durbin and Wesley E. Roberts Jr. were exposed to asbestos-containing products while working at Exxon''s refinery in Baton Rouge, La., from the mid-1940s to the 1970s.

Roberts, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1994 died the following year, worked as a pipefitter and insulator.

Durbin, an ironworker, insulator and boilermaker, was diagnosed in 1994 and died in 1998.

In each case, the jury awarded $500,000 for past medical expenses, $1.5 million for pain and suffering, $500,000 for past loss of enjoyment of life, and $1 million for past medical anguish.

In addition, Durbin''s two children received $250,000 each for wrongful death damages.

Roberts'' widow received $1 million and each of his three children received $250,000 for wrongful death damages.

The fines were divided among those defendants that were liable including Exxon, and the five manufacturers of asbestos-containing products.

Exxon''s total share of the verdict is approximately $700,000.

The company''s attorney said Exxon will file post trial motions and an appeal.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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