Asbestos Company Argues Against Mesothelioma Widow’s Multi-Million-Dollar Award
Rita Glenn’s husband Thomas died of malignant mesothelioma after having worked for years as an instrument technician at the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina. The widow filed suit against several asbestos companies that she blamed for his death, and settled with most out of court. Fisher Controls International remained, and a jury returned a verdict against them totaling $3 million in wrongful death damages, survival damages, and loss of consortium damages, as well as $2.1 million in punitive damages. The company sought to have this decision reviewed and reversed.
Fisher Controls’ Valves and Gaskets Blamed for Man’s Mesothelioma
According to testimony provided at trial, the mesothelioma victim worked at the nuclear station from the mid-1970s through the 1990s. His job responsibilities put him in close proximity to other workers tasked with removing and replacing asbestos-contaminated gaskets and packing from Fisher Controls’ valves that they sold to his employer.
Fisher defended itself against liability for Thomas’ mesothelioma, arguing that the asbestos gaskets in its valves were encapsulated, but the jury disagreed. They found them liable for negligence and breach of warranty, and also found that “by clear and convincing evidence,” the company’s conduct had been “willful, wanton, or reckless,” and deserving of additional punitive damages for the widow. The company filed several post-trial motions, which were denied, and the company then appealed.
Judge Allows Majority of Mesothelioma Decision to Stand
In reviewing Fisher Controls’ argument against the mesothelioma verdict and award, the Court of Appeals of South Carolina largely stood by the lower court’s ruling. They determined that the trial court had acted within its discretion in denying the company’s new trial motion on the ground of inconsistent verdict, held that the expert testimony had reliably established medical causation and was admissible, and agreed with the lower court’s decisions on other legal theories and decisions.
The appeals court judges agreed that the lower court should review the settlement documents regarding the set off of previous damages amounts paid by other companies against the verdict amount, but held firm on sanctions that had been imposed against the company for acting in bad faith regarding discovery issues. The judges agreed that the company’s attorneys had acted in bad faith and had not made any good faith efforts to correct their actions.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need experienced and knowledgeable people working on your behalf. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet