Asbestos cancer victims recently won a huge victory after a California Appeals Court upheld a significant, $5.8 million verdict on their behalf after the defendants attempted to skirt responsibility by appealing the case. Fortunately, judges for California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal sided with the three-plaintiffs, all surviving family members whose father developed mesothelioma after years of working with Bendix brake pads manufactured with deadly asbestos fibers.
As is common in many asbestos cancer lawsuits, the defendants asserted many creative defenses as to why they should be immune from liability for the harm caused by the asbestos-tainted products they manufactured. The defendants attempted to create and appellate issue by claiming the verdict was “fatally inconsistent,” the trial court “erroneously refused” to give the defense’s proposed jury instruction on causation, and the trial court “erroneously admitted” prejudicial evidence.
Furthermore, the defense claimed the jury’s $3.5 million award for punitive damages should be tossed aside on the basis the plaintiffs failed to prove the defendants acted with the malice and wanton disregard for safety to warrant such an award. Fortunately for the plaintiffs, the Appeals Court balked at the defendant’s claims and upheld the jury’s award, finally giving the victims the compensation they deserved.
Victim Worked for Years with Asbestos Contaminated Products
Like so many thousands of mesothelioma cancer victims, the plaintiff in this case spent decades on the job working with asbestos contaminated products without knowledge of the serious health consequences asbestos exposure could produce. One of the plaintiff’s first jobs was as an auto mechanic performing brake jobs with materials manufactured the by the defendant – Bendix Corporation, now known as Honeywell International.
Despite knowing for years about the dangers of asbestos, the company continued to manufacture brake pads with significant amounts of asbestos up until 2001. By the early 1970s, many companies using asbestos included labeling on their products about the dangers of asbestos but many others, like the defendant, already knew of the risks but failed to warn consumers.
According to court documents, the plaintiffs produced a 1966 letter from the defendant’s then director of purchases to the company’s asbestos supplier. The letter contained excerpt from an article in The Chemical Week which highlighted the dangers of airborne asbestos, including that produced by brake pads and other auto parts. The letter may have been the single biggest blow to the defense since it showed the company already knew for decades about the risks is products used but put profits ahead of people with its indifference to public safety and consumer protection.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.