Mesothelioma trial results in a $90 million jury award to a former pipefitter. A jury in Bloomington, Illinois awarded $90million to 59 year-old Charles Gillenwater who is suffering from mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that attacks the protective lining of the heart, lungs and abdomen that is caused by asbestos exposure. The pipe fitter was exposed to asbestos during the 1970s while working at a several job sites including Bridgestone-Firestone, The Eureka Company and Illinois State University.
Mesothelioma cancer invades the mesothelium – the lining of tissue that surround vital organs. The most common is pleural mesothelioma or cancer of the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma also attacks the lining of either the heart, abdomen, or testicles. Symptoms of mesothelioma generally occur approximately 20 to 30 years after the asbestos exposure and include shortness of breath, chest pain and a persistent cough. In most instances, mesothelioma is diagnosed in the advanced stages leaving the victim with 8 months to 18 months to live. Mesothelioma is treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation in an effort to extend the patient’s life.
The trial lasted for five weeks and the jury deliberated for two days before awarding compensatory damages of $9.6 million against Honeywell International, Inc., Owens-Illinois, Inc., John Crane, Inc. and Pneumo Abex. The jury also awarded $20 million in punitive damages against Honeywell International, Inc. and Pneumo Abex and $40 million in punitive damages against Owens-Illinois.
The jury concluded that Honeywell, Pneumo Abex and Owens-Illinois conspired to suppress or suppressed information about the harmful effects or hazards of asbestos. The jury went on to find that the companies failed to warn employees and customers about the dangers of asbestos.