Arizona Mesothelioma Victim’s Family Awarded $17 Million
Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease has a very long latency period, which means that in most cases, the exposure happened decades earlier, usually at the victim’s job. In many cases, the affected employee is unaware of the danger that they had faced in their workplace, which they left long ago. Many are in the midst of enjoying their retirement when they are suddenly stricken with symptoms of the fatal disease.
This is exactly what happened to George Coulbourn, who worked as a machinist for the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia from 1959 to 1966. Mr. Coulbourn was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012 and filed a product liability action against multiple companies, but died in August of 2013. After his death, his case was amended by his spouse and children into a wrongful death action. This week a federal jury in Arizona awarded his family a total of $17 million.
The case named over twenty different companies whose asbestos-contaminated products Mr. Coulbourn had been exposed to during the course of his employment, leaving the jury to determine which defendants were most responsible for his illness, and how much each was required to provide in compensation to his family. Crane Company of Stamford, Connecticut was ordered to provide the family with $5 million in punitive damages, while the valve manufacturer William Powell Company was ordered to pay $3 million. These two companies were assigned 20% and 5% responsibility respectively, while other defendants were assigned a 1% responsibility and had to pay less; the U.S. Navy was assigned 47% responsibility for the damages that Mr. Coulbourn and his family suffered.
In addition to the punitive damages provided to the family, the $17 million award also included $6 million to Coulbourn’s widow and $1 million to each of his three adult children for the product liability portion of the case.
The story of George Coulbourn is like many others that are being played out across the United States, and that will continue to arise as more innocent victims realize that their workplace exposed them to asbestos. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and need information on your legal rights, contact the mesothelioma law firm of Danziger & De Llano today. Our compassionate professional staff will provide you with the guidance you need and a clear path to getting the compensation that you deserve.