Chemical Engineer’s $3 Million Mesothelioma Verdict Upheld by District Court

In 2018, chemical engineer Dr. James L. Gaddy was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, and shortly thereafter he filed suit against Ethyl Corporation and other defendants, accusing them of negligence in having exposed him to asbestos. A trial court agreed, assigning the companies $7.5 million in damages and attributing one-third of the financial responsibility to Ethyl. Despite a district court reducing the verdict to $3 million, Ethyl appealed the decision, seeking a new trial and revised allocation of responsibility. The district court denied this appeal and the companies appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which upheld the $3 million and the one third allocation.

Asbestos Company Argues that Jury Decided Mesothelioma Case Wrongly

Though the asbestos companies accused of causing Dr. Gaddy’s mesothelioma and death argued that the jury had insufficient evidence to blame them for his illness, the 5th Circuit’s review of the case showed that multiple witnesses had testified, establishing a significant amount of documentary evidence. 

The court also dismissed the company’s argument that the mesothelioma victim’s asbestos exposure could not legally be blamed on them because the asbestos dust created by their sodium cell product was only a temporary condition created by the cells being maintained. The court reviewed this argument based upon the law that was in place at the time of Gaddy’s exposure and ruled that all of the requirements for strict liability were present, and that even if the dust was only there temporarily and then swept up, the weekly maintenance of the cells created an “almost constant” exposure that was part of the facility’s operations, and therefore not to be considered temporary.

Court Dismisses Argument that Mesothelioma Award Was Unreasonable

The asbestos company also argued against the validity of the testimony provided by an expert witness and that the damages that they had been assigned was unreasonable in a mesothelioma case, but the judges of the 5th Circuit reviewed the records and found several similar cases in which the award assigned was between $1.5 million and $3 million. They left the decision and damages in place, saying that the district court that had decided upon the amount and heard the extensive testimony had been in a “far better position” than they to make the decision.

Mesothelioma victims face seemingly insurmountable challenges, but persistence frequently leads to them getting the care and justice that they need and deserve. For information on the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at today 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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