A South Carolina jury is being explicitly informed that the asbestos company being sued in a mesothelioma lawsuit purposely lied to try to keep them from hearing incriminating evidence. The case involves Jerry Crawford, a former employee at Celanese Corporations materials plant in Spartanburg, and Civil Corporation, a supplier that provided asbestos-containing pipe insulation to Crawford’s employer.
Jerry Crawford was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma after years of exposure to asbestos on the job. He filed a lawsuit naming his employer and several of their suppliers, but by the time of the trial all of the other defendants had settled their cases. Covil Corporation went out of business in 1991, and in defending themselves they argued that they had never sold asbestos-containing materials to Crawford’s employer. When asked to provide their records of sales from the years when Crawford was employed at Celanese Corporation, Covil Corporation’s attorneys represented that all of the company’s sales records had been destroyed in a warehouse fire. This claim was disproven when Crawford’s attorneys found that the records in question had been preserved because they were kept in a metal safe.
In response, Judge Toal instructed the mesothelioma victim’s attorneys that they were free to present evidence about the fire, as well as providing the jury with instructions stating as fact that Crawford had been exposed to asbestos-contaminated materials supplied and installed by Covil Corporation. Though Covil’s attorneys objected to this decision, the judge overruled their objection and the victim’s attorney informed the jury that Covil “knew it, they did it, and they hid it.” The jury has been tasked with determining the amount of Covil’s liability for Crawford’s illness. Covil had previously faced a machinist who worked at the plant and who was also diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. That man was awarded $14 million in compensatory damages.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma following workplace exposure, there are resources available to help. For information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.