Justice came too late for a Washington state man who died in 2019 after being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, but a King County Superior Court jury awarded his widow $16.67 million in compensation for his early death and her loss. Though the jury heard over one month of testimony, it took them less than one day to decide that Scapa Waycross Inc. had been negligent and its products unsafe.
Mesothelioma Award is Second Largest in Washington State History
The $16.67 million verdict awarded to the family of mesothelioma victim Kevan Holdsworth came after the jury heard extensive details about his exposure to dryer felts manufactured by Scapa Waycross. Holdsworth was a lifelong Washington state resident who began working at the paper mill in Camas, Washington shortly after graduating from high school in 1964. Between 1970 and 1976 he was part of the mill’s paper machine clean-up crew, which cleaned Scapa’s asbestos-contaminated dryer felts with compressed air.
Testimony provided at trial demonstrated that the cleaning process spread asbestos fibers into the air, which Holdsworth then inhaled and which caused his mesothelioma. The jury also learned that Scapa had received notice of asbestos’ dangers but had never tested their products to determine whether asbestos was released and had never issued any type of warning regarding its use or its dangers.
Jury Decision Sends Powerful Message to Asbestos Company
Though many asbestos companies accept responsibility for their role in mesothelioma deaths and are willing to work with families to compensate them for their loss, Mr. Holdsworth’s representative explained that Scapa is an exception. “Scapa manufactured and sold dangerous asbestos-containing products for many years, and it has now adopted a ‘no settlement’ litigation strategy, meaning costly litigation is the only way to get accountability. If Scapa had exerted the same sort of effort to investigate the dangers of its products that it now spends fighting lawsuits, Kevan Holdsworth might still be alive. We’re grateful the Holdsworths insisted on seeing this case through, and we think the verdict constitutes a clear statement that they were wronged.”
Kevan met his widow Sherrie in 7th grade, and though they dated in high school they did not marry until they were in their 30s. Speaking of her loss, Sherrie said, “Kevan was an incredible man who spent his life putting others before himself. Those who knew him knew his generosity and sense of humor and deep love for the Seahawks – and countless other things that I miss every single day.”
If you or someone you love has been affected by mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net have resources to help you with the struggle. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn more.