When 72-year-old Richard Booker died of malignant mesothelioma, his family was not certain as to where he had been exposed to asbestos, the carcinogenic material that has been established as the sole cause of the disease.
Although Booker worked for decades mixing paints, the companies that made the materials reportedly indicated that their products did not contain asbestos.
Careful investigations, however, led to the discovery that both Vanderbilt Minerals and Imerys Talc America purposely misled consumers about the presence of the toxin in their products.
A California jury has responded by awarding Mr. Booker’s family a total of $22 million for their negligence and liability in his wrongful death.
The jury handed down its verdict in the mesothelioma lawsuit following six weeks of testimony. Much of what they heard led them to believe that both companies had acted with “malice, oppression and fraud.”
Booker’s family was provided $17.5 million in compensatory damages to address their economic and emotional losses, as well as an additional $4.6 million specifically assessed as punitive damages against Imerys.
Vanderbilt escaped a jury assessment of punitive damages by settling with the Booker family before the next phase of the case could proceed. The two companies were each seen as to blame, with 60% of liability assessed to Vanderbilt and 40% to Imerys.
According to evidence submitted during the trial, tissue samples from Mr. Booker’s lungs contained the same ingredients as the asbestos-containing talc that the two companies manufactured.
The jury was told that the companies had gone beyond failing to disclose the presence of asbestos, and that they had specifically offered assurances that it was not there. Imerys documents showed that they had reblended their talc to reduce the possibility that asbestos would be detected.
Companies worked hard to continue using asbestos despite knowing that it was causing malignant mesothelioma and other fatal diseases. While they are being required to provide financial compensation for their wrongdoing, the families of those affected are paying the ultimate price.
Contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608. We can provide you with invaluable information and resources.