A jury rendered a $35.2 million verdict in a case in which 22 refinery workers from the Texaco Refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, sought damages for asbestosis as a result of exposure to asbestos-containing products manufactured by the defendants.
The plaintiffs charged that the defendants, Flexitallic Inc. and United States Gypsum Co., were negligent by failing to warn them of the hazardous nature of the products.
Flexitallic and Gypsum claimed that the products in question were not unreasonably dangerous, that they were not negligent by failing to warn of the asbestos content of their products and that the plaintiffs contributed to the negligence.
The jury deliberated for three days, rendering a verdict that Flexitallic and Gypsum''s products were dangerous and that they were negligent in failing to warn the plaintiffs of the hazardous nature of their products.
"This verdict represents what happens when one company knows all of the dangers associated with its products and refuses to do anything about it [Gypsum], and when another company claims to know nothing about the dangers of their products and refuses to do anything to find out about it [Flexitallic]," said Ian Cloud, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, with the law firm of Robins, Cloud, Greenwood & Lubel, in Houston.
The verdict also stated that no other product manufacturer other than the defendants were negligent or contributed to the plaintiffs'' injuries.
Damages included $100,000 for past physical pain and mental anguish, $200,000 for future physical pain and mental anguish, $500,000 for future physical impairment and $800,000 for future medical expenses for each of the 22 plaintiffs.
Asbestos, a recognized human carcinogen, is know to cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, a lethal tumor of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavities.
by Virginia Sutcliffe