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New Jersey Man Wins $7.5 Million Asbestos Verdict

A Middlesex County, New Jersey jury recently awarded $7.5 million in damages to a man who claimed that his mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos while he worked installing furnaces and boilers. One million dollars of the total verdict was assessed in punitive damages against just one of the several named defendants in the case. Pecora Corporation, a company that makes furnace cement and sealants, was assessed the additional damages because it sold cement containing asbestos until 1986, with the full knowledge of its dangers.

The case was the first of many to be heard by New Jersey judge Ana Viscomi, who recently assumed responsibility for the entire asbestos docket, representing nearly 400 cases. The case was brought by William Condon of Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey, and began with lawsuits being filed against 90 named defendants back in 2013, including American Standard, Burnham LLC, Peerless, Utica and Weil-McLain. Between the time of that filing and the jury selection in November of 2014, many of them had reached settlements. The $6.5 million compensatory damages verdict was handed down on January 12th, by which time only three defendants had not yet settled with the plaintiff – Pecora, CertainTeed and Wallwork. The suit indicated that during an 11-year period of employment with Fritz Heating and Cooling, he had been exposed to asbestos from cement as well as other boiler-related products.

The jury award was broken down into compensation of $500,000 for the past pain and suffering that Condon had suffered and $4.5 million for the pain and suffering he is expected to experience in the future. The remaining $1.5 million was awarded to his wife, with half a million dollars awarded for past loss of services and another one million for future loss. The liability portion of the decision largely left out the remaining defendants, and attributed most of the blame to eight defendants that had already left the suit. United Supply was assigned the largest portion of the blame at 26 percent, equalling $1.69 million dollars.

Pecora was specifically singled out for punitive damages because of proof presented that they had been warned of the dangers of their product by their own supplier, Carey Canadian. That company had printed a warning advising the use of protective gear which Pecora ignored and did not share with their customers. The company only stopped using asbestos-laden products when forced to by their insurer.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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