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Jury awards $27.5M in asbestos second-hand exposure case

A jury recently awarded a 40-year-old man and his 37-year-old wife a $27.5 million settlement related to a lawsuit the couple filed against a brake pad manufacturer. In 2012, the now 40-year-old husband and father was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Prior to the start of the trial, the man underwent four life-threatening surgeries which ultimately resulted in the removal of his right lung. The cancer, however, is expected to also affect his left lung.

Upon being diagnosed with the fatal form of cancer, the 40-year-old professor and musician traced his exposure to asbestos material which clung to and was imbedded in his late father's work clothes. For 31 years, the man's father had worked for a brake company whose successor was subsequently sued. In 1994, at the age of just 52, the man's father passed away from lung cancer.

When reaching their verdict, jurors choose to award the 40-year-old man more than $12 million in non-economic damages as well as $500,000 for medical expenses. Jurors also awarded his 37-year-old wife a sum of $15 million related to loss of companionship and consortium. The couple, who has a six-year-old daughter, is bracing for the inevitable end to the man's life that will likely come within a matter of months. The brake manufacturer is likely to appeal the verdict.

This case is a tragic reminder of the dangers associated with asbestos exposure. In addition to those workers who are directly exposed to asbestos, the family members of these men and women are also at risk for second-hand asbestos exposure. Families, who have been impacted, would be wise to seek the advice of an attorney who has experience handling asbestos matters.

Source: The Plain Dealer, "Tri-C professor with asbestos-related cancer wins record $27.5 million verdict in Cuyahoga County court," James F. McCarty, Jan. 22, 2014

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