Cynthia B. Cowger blames her malignant mesothelioma on exposure to asbestos suffered over years of working for F.W. Means/Aramark. Her duties there involved handling laundry press pads and other commercial laundry equipment that her employer had sourced from Qualitex Company, and she filed a personal injury lawsuit against that organization seeking compensation for the damages she suffered. After a years’ long legal battle including arguments over obtaining a study of Ms. Cowger’s genes, a jury heard the details of the case and awarded the victim $23 million in damages.
Asbestos Company Argued That Victim’s Mesothelioma Was Genetic
Over the course of the mesothelioma litigation, Qualitex argued against being held responsible for Ms. Cowger’s terminal illness both by asserting that she “was not exposed to any asbestos-containing product manufactured, supplied, or distributed by Qualitex” and that instead “for this Plaintiff, genetic mutations are the sole proximate cause of her mesothelioma.”
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease known to be caused by exposure to asbestos. The basis for Qualitex’s defense and subsequent request for a blood sample from Ms. Cowger was to see whether she carried a genetic mutation that they claimed could cause mesothelioma absent asbestos exposure. The judge denied that request in January of 2021, writing that “the theory underlying Qualitex’s request has not gained general acceptance whereby it would be permitted to conduct full genomic sequencing of the Plaintiff’s genome.” The company went so far as to ask the judge to reconsider that decision in March, and their request was denied.
Jury Gives Victim Far More Than She Asked for During Settlement Negotiations
Over the course of the trial the jury heard details of how the mesothelioma victim had worked with Qualitex’s products, and as late as immediately before closing arguments the two sides were still in settlement talks. Ms. Cowger’s final request had been for $5 million (though her attorneys initially argued for as much as $14 million) but the company would go no higher than $2 million. The jury awarded her $6 million for loss of a normal life, $5 million for her shortened life expectancy, $2 million for physical disfigurement, and another $10 million total for her pain and suffering and emotional distress.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need an advocate who will fight for justice on your behalf. For information on the resources available from the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.