A St. Louis jury ordered Ford Motor Company to pay $8.433 million in compensation to lifelong resident Al Bennett and his wife Pam after hearing evidence that the company had exposed him to asbestos, leading to his diagnosis with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer that affects the lining of the chest cavity that holds the lungs and other organs.
Jury holds automotive giant responsible for man’s asbestos exposure
The mesothelioma verdict was handed down on August 22nd. Though Mr. Bennett, a former auto mechanic, was too ill to attend, his wife was there to hear them award her husband $5,725,000 in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages. The jury also awarded Mrs. Bennett $708,000 in actual damages, agreeing that she had also sustained damage as a result of her husband’s injuries.
According to testimony presented at trial, Mr. Bennett’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a direct result of having been exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s when he worked as a mechanic at Ford, Mercury and Lincoln automobile dealerships, replacing and repairing brakes, gaskets, clutches and OEM replacement parts that were contaminated with the carcinogenic material.
Company put profits over people
The jury was presented with evidence indicating not only that Ford was aware of the dangers that asbestos posed, but also that it did nothing to warn of its dangers. Like many other asbestos companies, the automobile giant placed its own profits as a higher priority than people who worked with their products or would be exposed to them.
Mr. Bennett had retired prior to his mesothelioma diagnosis, and is currently seeking treatment. A family representative commented on the jury’s award, saying, “Although Al is currently suffering from pleural mesothelioma, we hope that this sizable verdict will help him and his family find some peace during this difficult time.”
People diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are often disappointed to learn that their fatal illness could have been presented had an asbestos company simply acted with care and compassion. For information on the origins of your own illness, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.