District Court Upholds $33 Million Award for Mesothelioma Widow

Ann Finch lost her husband Franklin to malignant mesothelioma in January of 2017, just months after he had been diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer. In October a North Carolina federal jury awarded her $32.7 million in damages, assigning blame to Covil Corporation, a pipe insulation company that had sold all of the insulation used in the construction of the tire plant where Finch worked for years. Though Covil filed a motion for a new trial on damages in the case, a district court ruled against the manufacturer, telling them that they owed the amount that the jury awarded the widow.

Mesothelioma victim’s suffering drove verdict

Covil Corporation argued that they should not be held responsible for Mr. Finch’s malignant mesothelioma during the jury trial, then after they lost at that point they argued that the jury’s verdict was excessive and that the widow had not presented enough evidence to support the verdict. Upon reviewing the case, the U.S. District Court disagreed, making note of the asbestos victim’s significant suffering in the months before his death: Mr. Finch endured months of being hospitalized, underwent numerous surgeries and experienced multiple painful complications. The court also pointed out that Civil had ample opportunity to make counterpoints during the original trial, and that the widow had presented a good deal of evidence that Covil was well aware of the dangers of asbestos prior to starting to sell it to the tire factory, but sold it anyway, without warnings.

Asbestos company knew the risks

According to testimony provided at trial, Franklin Finch’s mesothelioma diagnosis came after twenty years working at the tire plant as a mold changer. In the course of his duties he worked in close proximity to insulated steam pipes supplied by Covil that fed the tire presses. Despite knowing that the pipes were insulated with asbestos and exposed Mr. Fitch and countless others to potential harm, the company failed to provide any warning or protection to those at risk of exposure. Upon review of the original case, the court determined that extensive direct and circumstantial evidence had shown that Covil sold the products to the tire factory at a time when it either knew or should have known of its dangers. They also determined that asbestos from the pipes was the cause of Mr. Fitch’s death, remarking on his close proximity to the pipes, the fact that whenever he bumped into them a cloud of asbestos dust would rise, and that the factory had high concentrations of airborne asbestos fibers.

It is unfortunate that profit motive was behind so many mesothelioma deaths. If you or someone you love has been affected by this tragic disease and you need information about the resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our Mesothelioma.net 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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