An Illinois state appeals court recently upheld a substantial $4.6 million verdict in a mesothelioma cancer lawsuit brought by a union pipefitter who worked with products manufactured by John Crane, Inc. during the 1950s. In its ruling, the First District Appellate Court determined the trial court was right to allow the plaintiff’s attorneys to present expert testimony showing the victim’s asbestos cancer diagnosis was a result of exposure to asbestos fibers while working with John Crane products.
In his lawsuit, the plaintiff testified that he suffered from significant asbestos exposure from valves and gaskets, including those manufactured by the defendant. At trial, the plaintiff’s expert witness testified that the products manufactured by John Crane were a substantial contributing factor to the victim’s mesothelioma cancer diagnosis. Defense attorneys harped on testimony by this expert for the plaintiffs in which he explained the nuances in the relationship between asbestos exposure and developing mesothelioma cancer.
Additionally, the defendant took issue with the jury instructions given to the panel to help them reach a decision during their deliberations. These jury instructions are a standard part of our judicial system and both inform the jury of the legal standards for reaching a verdict and how they must apportion responsibility in civil cases. John Crane’s attorneys had asked the judge to give the jurors specialized jury instructions pattered for the particular case, though the trial judge determined that the Illinois state pattern instructions were sufficient.
In its appeal, John Crane’s attorneys argued that the plaintiff’s expert did not provide enough background knowledge the jury required to interpret the findings of another plaintiff’s expert who quantified the victim’s exposure to asbestos from John Crane products was sufficient enough to cause his disease. The Illinois appeals court rejected this argument as well as the defense’s other appeal argument that the jury instructions issued were improper and lead the jurors to reach an incorrect conclusion in the case.
The case is another example of the extraordinary lengths to which companies that manufactured their products with asbestos will go in order to deny, delay, and defend otherwise meritorious claims brought by victims of their negligence. While it is long established that asbestos in industrial products, once used for decades before federal legislation effectively put an end to their use, is a direct and substantial cause of developing mesothelioma, defense attorneys and their expert witness would rather look the other way on what is essentially settled science. Fortunately, the law allows mesothelioma victims and their surviving family to bring asbestos cancer claims and hold wrongdoers accountable for their indifference to public safety.
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If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced Arizona 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.