After two weeks of in-person trial, a Los Angeles County jury awarded a 64-year-old woman diagnosed with mesothelioma $43 million on May 20, 2022. This verdict is among the largest seen in recent years. The woman, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2019, blamed Algoma Hardwoods Inc. for her condition.
According to the evidence presented, the 64-year-old California woman never directly worked with the toxic substance known as asbestos. However, her husband used to work in a capacity that exposed him to asbestos. He worked with doors that contained asbestos. The asbestos dust from the doors got stuck in his skin, hair, and clothes, and he brought this dust home. Even though the woman sometimes assisted her husband on-site, most of the asbestos exposure she suffered was from the asbestos dust her husband brought home. According to a family representative, the 64-year-old woman suffered asbestos exposure while doing her husband’s laundry. Also, just being inside the home exposed her to asbestos.
From 1977 to 1980, Algoma made fire-resistant asbestos-contaminated doors. The jury found the company 50% liable for the 64-year-old woman’s mesothelioma. The jury then assessed comparative fault against other defendants. The following is a breakdown of the percentage of responsibility each defendant was awarded;
- S. Plywood/Champion International Paper – 18%
- Georgia Pacific – 15%
- Johnson & Johnson – 5%
- Black & Decker – 2%
- M. Cobb Co – 10%
The jury awarded the woman $42.3 million in non-economic damages and $1.5 million in economic damages.
Secondary Asbestos Exposure
People who work with asbestos or asbestos-contaminated products experience primary asbestos exposure. Occupational asbestos exposure is quite common even today. For example, people working in construction, factories, and shipyards are at a high risk of occupational asbestos exposure.
Secondary asbestos exposure also happens. This type of exposure occurs when a person working with asbestos or asbestos-containing products brings asbestos fibers home on their clothes, hair, skin, or shoes. Unfortunately, secondary asbestos exposure can be just as dangerous as primary asbestos exposure. There is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Any amount of asbestos exposure can result in the development of asbestos-related illnesses.
Secondary asbestos exposure is to blame for a significant number of mesothelioma cases among women and children. This is because, years ago, men made up the majority of the industrial working class. Children who suffer secondary asbestos exposure at a young age can develop asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma when they are adults.
However, secondary asbestos exposure is not as common today as it was many years ago. Now, employers must provide their employees with facilities to change out of asbestos-contaminated clothing before leaving work. Employers must also provide employees with shower facilities so they can clean asbestos off themselves before leaving work.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyers
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.