A federal appeals court has upheld a record-setting mesothelioma cancer verdict in North Carolina, finding no fault with the manner in which the trial court oversaw the case or the legal reasoning for refusing to reduce the multimillion dollar jury verdict. With the three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the $32.7 million dollar verdict in the lower federal district court in North Carolina, the award constitutes the largest ever single-plaintiff and largest ever mesothelioma cancer lawsuit verdict in the state’s history.
According to the mesothelioma cancer lawsuit, originally filed in U.S. District Court for the District of North Carolina, the plaintiff’s husband worked at the Firestone Tire Plant in Wilson, North Carolina, from 1975 until 1995. The plaintiff alleged that during his employment at the Firestone tire plant, her husband was exposed to asbestos fibers in insulation pipes in the curing room of the plant, where he would change tires in the tire mold presses. The curing room of the tire plant contained 120 steam operated tire presses, connected to multiple steam pipes which the plaintiff asserted were insulated with asbestos-containing materials.
While the defendant, Covil Corporation, did not manufacture or supply the tire presses, the company did admit to supplying hundreds of feet of the asbestos-containing insulation materials which covered the pipes from these machines. Upon the victim’s passing away from mesothelioma cancer, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death mesothelioma cancer lawsuit against Covil Corporation, claiming that the company’s asbestos containing pipe insulation was responsible for her husband’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis.
At trial, the jury returned a substantial $32.7 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff, agreeing with her that Covil Corporation’s asbestos-containing pipe insulation was the cause of the victim’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. Covil Corporation subsequently appealed the district court ruling to the federal appeals circuit, asserting that the trial court erred in the manner to which it issued instructions to the jury before its deliberations. The defendant further argued to the appeals court that the jury’s award was beyond what should be allowed by law and that the trial court should have reduced it.
Fortunately for the plaintiff, the appeals court sided with her, determining that the trial court’s instruction to the jurors before their deliberations did not violate the law, or that the trial court made a further error when it did not reduce the award. Covil Corporation attempted to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but that request was denied and effectively upheld the $32.7 million award in favor of the plaintiff and her deceased husband.
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