The highest court in the State of New York has just upheld a $3 million verdict, according to a recent news article from The Buffalo News. In this case, a former employee who worked as a pipe fitter for General Motors Company at one of their engine plants had died in 2011 when he was 77-years-old. This was before the verdict was ultimately upheld by the New York Court of Appeals. Once the plaintiff had died, his surviving spouse continued the lawsuit in his name, as is often the case due the deadly nature of mesothelioma.
He actually died just three months before the jury returned a verdict finding several named defendants failed to adequately warn him of the risks of asbestos. Jurors awarded him $3 million in damages, which will now go to his legal heirs, including his surviving spouse and children.
It was argued that these companies knowingly manufactured a product that caused people to get mesothelioma and did not tell the workers of these risks while they were well aware of the dangers. As our Boston mesothelioma injury attorneys can explain, failure to warn of known danger is the main claim in most of these mesothelioma lawsuits. The reason for this is because when a company knows or has reason to know their product is potentially or actually dangerous, they have an affirmative duty to warn anyone who might come in contact with the substance and could become sick. This basically meant the workers who manufactured and installed asbestos and asbestos related products.
There is no question that these companies were well aware of the dangers of asbestos. There is also no question that they took affirmative steps to not only hide that information from the public, including their own workers, but also went to so far as to assure people that asbestos was safe even when they knew that to be a complete lie. To make matters worse, once the general public started to question the safety of asbestos, they began to use vermiculite as an alternative to asbestos in many applications and claimed it was completely safe and asbestos free. They also knew this to be false.
Vermiculite is formed in the very same conditions where asbestos is formed. While vermiculite itself may be safe, these companies knew that it often contained asbestos. These were the products they were calling a safe asbestos-free alternative. This is the reason for such high verdicts in some of these cases as well as the high level of pain and suffering caused by this horrific illness.
As part of its appeal, the company argued that it had no duty to warn the plaintiff of the dangers of asbestos, since they did not directly manufacture all of the replacement parts that made him sick. However, as the court noted, the substance was deadly when used for its intended purpose, and this gave them an absolute duty to warn of the dangers of mesothelioma.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Appeals court upholds $3 million verdict in asbestos case, July 10, 2016, The Buffalo News, By Phil Fairbanks
More Blog Entries:
Grant v. Foster Wheeler, LLC – Proof of Asbestos Defendants’ Products as Proximate Cause of Injury, July 5, 2016, Boston Mesothelioma Lawyer Blog