Court Again Sides with Daughters Following Father’s Mesothelioma Death

In March of 2023, the Louisiana Court of Appeals denied a petition from Union Carbide Corporation, which had argued against a jury’s $2.75 million wrongful death award to each of two daughters of a mesothelioma victim. The company appealed that decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court, which vacated the appeals court’s decision and ordered the court to reconsider its ruling. This week the appeals court handed down its decision: Once again, they affirmed the trial court and jury’s award.

court decision

Two Daughters Devastated After Father’s Painful Mesothelioma Death

The original jury in the case filed by David Stauder’s daughters heard wrenching testimony about the remarkable closeness between the mesothelioma victim and his daughters, and the devastation both experienced after his death. They ordered Union Carbide to pay Jill and Shelley Stauder $4.85 million in survival damages and $2.75 million each as a wrongful death award. Union Carbide appealed the award, first to the Court of Appeals that upheld the verdict and then again to the Supreme Court, which ordered reconsideration in light of the court’s standards of review.

In response to the order from the Louisiana Supreme Court, the appeals court revisited its decision on the mesothelioma claim, noting that “elements of damages for wrongful death include loss of love and affection, loss of services, loss of support, medical expenses, and funeral expenses” and that the burden of proving definite loss rested with the daughters and that the determination of damages rested with the jury and was “entitled to great deference.”

Analysis of Jury’s Mesothelioma Award Finds $2.75 Million Amount Reasonable

After reviewing a range of historical wrongful death claims awarded in Louisiana, the court turned its attention to the testimony provided by the mesothelioma victim’s daughters, and the jury’s wrongful death award. Though the judges noted that the $2.75 million awarded to each was substantially greater than the previous awards, they said that the cases were distinguishable and that they did not find them beyond what a reasonable trier of fact would award based on the devastating effects described. 

Writing that “jury awards are not arbitrarily decided” and that the district court had not abused its discretion in the original mesothelioma hearing, the court of appeals concluded that there was no need to “inextricably anchor” current awards to past awards. They affirmed the award the jury had handed down two years earlier.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at have the resources you need. Contact us 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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