Asbestos Company Facing Multiple Mesothelioma Claims Fails to Appear in Court

There are hundreds of asbestos companies that are frequently named in malignant mesothelioma lawsuits. Most fight claims of negligence, while some acknowledge their role and set up funds to compensate victims. In one unusual case, an asbestos mining company took a completely different path, opting to ignore the legal action against them entirely. This nonappearance cleared the way for a New York court to issue a decision that awarded the victim and his family over $5 million.

court room

Mesothelioma Blamed on Summer Job and Take-Home Asbestos Exposure

The unusual mesothelioma lawsuit outcome followed a claim filed by Joseph Muir. Mr. Muir was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, and blamed his illness on exposure he suffered during two summers that he worked at the Durez Plastics plant in North Tonawanda, New York. He also pointed to take-home exposure from his father having carried asbestos fibers home on his clothing after working full-time at the same location.  Durez purchased millions of pounds of raw asbestos from Hedman Resources Limited, a Canadian asbestos mining company, which they used to manufacture their plastic molding compounds.

Being named a defendant in a mesothelioma claim was not new to Hedman. The company had settled hundreds of claims for decades prior to Mr. Muir’s illness, but after exhausting their primary insurance coverage, the company arranged a deal with their secondary insurers that released them from their insurance obligations for outstanding and future claims. The company then failed to appear in court to face Mr. Muir’s claim.

$5.6 Million Awarded to Mesothelioma Victim After Mining Company Fails to Appear 

When the day of the mesothelioma hearing arrived, Mr. Muir and his attorneys were there and ready to present their case, but Hedman did not appear. The jury was presented with a significant amount of testimony about Mr. Muir’s exposure and the impact that his illness had on him and his family.
They also learned that the company had been warned about asbestos’ dangers long before Mr. Muir was exposed.

Following the presentation of this evidence, the jury awarded Mr. Muir and his family $1.75 million for his past pain and suffering, $500,000 for his anticipated future pain and suffering, and $2.795,103 for his future lost wages and anticipated medical expenses.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you have experienced and knowledgeable help. For information, contact the Patient Advocates at at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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