“Factually Impossible Verdict” Leads to Rehearing of Mesothelioma Lawsuit

In late 2018, the family of mesothelioma victim Jerrod Bagwell was shocked by a Louisiana jury’s decision in their lawsuit against the asbestos companies they’d blamed for his illness. Despite the jury having agreed that his employer, RMC, was 75% at fault for his exposure to asbestos, they failed to apportion any liability to the actual producers of the asbestos products that they company used or exposed him to. In response to this confusing conclusion, Mr. Bagwell’s family filed an appeal of the decision, seeking a reversal of the verdict and asking for a new trial. Upon review, the Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit agreed and vacated the jury’s decision. 

Mesothelioma Verdict Considered “Contrary to the Law and Evidence”

Mr. Bagwell’s mesothelioma lawsuit seemed fairly straightforward. He had worked on oil rigs for RMC Holdings since 1978, when at the age of 19 he’d started working as a floorhand and then worked his way up to being a driller. He testified to having handled asbestos mud drilling additives amidst dusty conditions contaminated with asbestos, and it was the manufacturers of those additives that were named in his suit. 

Prior to the hearing, the mesothelioma victim and asbestos companies had agreed that there was no evidence of him having been exposed to any other asbestos-contaminated products at RMC and directed verdicts had been entered that excluded products such as welding blankets or other drilling products. Despite this, the jury attributed blame to those excluded products rather than to the drilling mud additives that were the subject of the lawsuit. The family’s appeal argued that the jury was confused in their determination and that the evidence needed to be reheard.

Directed Verdicts Removing Asbestos Sources Confused Mesothelioma Jury

In its review of the testimony in the case, the Court of Appeals agreed that the jury’s verdict was in direct contradiction of the directed verdicts that had already been established. They reviewed the jury’s responses to questions about cause and liability and found that they made no sense and were “illogical” when connected to their verdict. They concluded that the jury “had to be confused” and that the case needed to be reheard with a new jury. Mr. Bagwell’s family will have the opportunity to get the justice they deserve from the asbestos companies responsible for his exposure and death. 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that you remain focused as you move forward on your journey. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you accomplish your goals. Contact us 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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