Jury’s Anger at Negligence Leads to $26.5 Million Mesothelioma Verdict

Juries hearing mesothelioma lawsuits often spend weeks hearing evidence about how the rare form of cancer develops, about asbestos, and how the victim was exposed to the deadly material. They are then asked to determine whether negligence occurred. The process can be contentious, but a Wisconsin jury’s only disagreement was over the amount to be awarded. Though they agreed to over $26 million, two jurors dissented, arguing that even more should be given.

Victim’s Mesothelioma Caused by Work at Pabst’s Milwaukee Brewery

The mesothelioma lawsuit was filed by the family of Gerald “Jerry” Lorbiecki, a grandfather and steamfitter whose work at Pabst Blue Ribbon’s Milwaukee Brewery had exposed him to asbestos. The original claim accused both the beer company and another of Lorbiecki’s former employers – Wisconsin Electric – of failing to provide a safe work environment under Wisconsin’s Safe Place Act. Though the electric company settled the case prior to trial, Pabst insisted on going to trial, and argued against its own responsibility.

Company Claims Ignorance of Asbestos’ Dangers in Mesothelioma Case

Mr. Lorbiecki had worked for Pabst in the 1970s, when the dangers of asbestos and its role in malignant mesothelioma became well known. Despite this, no steps were taken to protect workers, even allowing exposure in the brewery workers’ lunchroom, which was equipped with exposed pipes from which asbestos fell. The company’s attorneys told the jury that Pabst’s safety officers had not known the material was dangerous, claiming that rather than reading peer-reviewed published literature, they were reading about brewing beer.  Their argument against their own responsibility angered the jurors, who arrived at a 10-2 decision that awarded the family $6.545 million in actual damages and another $20 million in punitive damages. The two dissenting jurors wanted to award even more in order send a message that companies should settle asbestos cases instead of forcing victims to go to court.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can connect you with the help you need. 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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