Thomasina Fowler’s initial wrongful death lawsuit against Union Carbide was filed in June of 2011, when she accused the chemical company of being responsible for her husband’s death from malignant mesothelioma. In 2015 the company was granted summary judgment after they argued that there wasn’t enough information to prove that Charley Edenfield had worked directly with Union Carbide’s asbestos-contaminated products. But a New Jersey Appellate Court overturned that decision in 2017, agreeing that the company’s shipments of asbestos to the plant where he worked and Edenfield’s job description were enough to move forward with a trial. Recently a New Jersey jury had the chance to listen to all of the evidence and testimony, and awarded the widow $2.38 million for her loss.
Decades of on-the-job exposure to asbestos exposure
Though Union Carbide continued arguing that Mr. Edenfield’s mesothelioma couldn’t have been cause by its asbestos, saying that there wasn’t specific evidence that he had handled their product, the jury disagreed. They had been shown that Edenfield had worked at the plant from 1969 to 1984, and that the plant had used Union Carbide’s brand of asbestos for nearly forty years. They also heard that Edenfield’s job had specifically been to work in a “powder room” and mix raw ingredients.
Union Carbide’s defense against their responsibility for Mr. Edenfield’s mesothelioma relied entirely on the fact that there was no proof that their particular asbestos product, Calidria, was used in the room where he worked. Their attorney told the jury, “There’s no card that says he used it in the powder room, there’s no witness that says Calidria was used in the powder room, there’s nothing showing that in his hands was a portion of Calidria or a bag of Calidria. No one testified I saw Calidria, I saw Union Carbide.” The company’s attorney also argued that Union Carbide had started putting a warning label on their product saying not to inhale it.
Jury responds to victim’s pain and suffering
Despite Union Carbide’s defense, the jury agreed with the widow that the mesothelioma that Mr. Edenfield was diagnosed with when he was just 74 years old had robbed him of the rest of his life, and that Union Carbide’s asbestos product was at fault. They provided the widow with $2.1 million to compensate for her husband’s pain and suffering, as well as $150,000 for her loss of his companionship and $130,000 for past and future impact.
Losing a loved one to malignant mesothelioma is extremely painful. For information on how to move forward, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.