For purposes of this article, the mesothelioma victim in this particular case will be referred to as Mr. W.W.
Mr. W.W. was exposed to asbestos during the 1960s and 1970s while working as a pipefitter and union welder for several plants. This was before the dangers of asbestos became known to many. Today, many people know about the dangers of asbestos and the role this substance plays in the development of fatal diseases like mesothelioma and asbestosis. Many years after asbestos exposure, Mr. W.W. was diagnosed with mesothelioma. A month after his diagnosis, he filed a mesothelioma claim against four companies he blamed for his asbestos exposure. Later, Mr. W.W. added thirty more companies to his claim. In 2022, the trial court awarded Mr. W.W. $36 million in damages, with Mr. W.W.’s former employer, Level 3, being ordered to pay $19.2 million. After the trial court made its decision, Level 3 petitioned for a new trial, but that request was denied. The company then decided to file an appeal. In a recent decision, the Louisiana Court of Appeal, Fourth Circuit rejected the company’s appeal and allowed Mr. W.W. to recover the damages awarded.
After the trial court awarded Mr. W.W. $36 million in damages, his former employer, Level 3, filed an appeal on several grounds. The company argued that during the original trial, mistakes were made. The company argued that the $36 million verdict was excessive and improper. According to Level 3, the verdict was based on emotion, compassion, and a desire to punish. The company argued that the judgment was not based on the law. In other words, the company claimed that the verdict was an abuse of discretion. Additionally, the company claimed that the trial court assigned them too great a portion of the $36 million verdict. Level 3 argued that Mr. W.W. should not have been allowed to pursue a strict liability argument against them and that the trial court made mistakes in some of their decisions regarding the evidence presented.