It has been a long road to justice for the family of mesothelioma victim Dennis Seay, but this week the South Carolina Supreme Court confirmed the rulings of every judge and jury that has heard his case. They upheld the $16 million award assessed against CNA Holdings, agreeing that the man had not been the company’s employee and that they had been negligent in having exposed him to the asbestos that caused his fatal illness.
Mesothelioma Victim Worked for Contracted Company
Mr. Seay and his wife filed his negligence lawsuit against CNA holdings shortly after he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, and though the disease quickly took his life, his case has been working its way through the courts ever since. The suit against CNA was based on the company having hired Daniel Construction Company to build a plant for them in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1965. Once the plant was constructed and began operations, CNA retained Daniel to provide workers to maintain and make repairs at the plant. Their contract included an annual fee and reimbursement for workers compensation premiums.
The mesothelioma victim was an employee of Daniel Construction from 1971 until 1980, during which time his responsibilities included maintenance and repair work at the plant. He worked on pumps, valves, condensers and other equipment in the plant’s piping network, all of which were contaminated with asbestos. When he was diagnosed with the rare and fatal disease he sued CNA, accusing them of negligence and failure to warn of the danger posed by the asbestos. His family assumed the lawsuit after he died.
Series of Courts Sided with Mesothelioma Victim
From the beginning of litigation, CNA maintained that they were the mesothelioma victim’s statutory employer and that they were therefore only responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits. They filed a motion to have the case dismissed, and when that failed and a jury awarded the estate $14 million in compensatory damages and another $2 million in punitive damages they appealed the verdict. The appeals court confirmed the jury’s decision and the company appealed once again, this time to the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Upon reviewing the case, the court agreed that Mr. Seay had not been CNA’s statutory employee, noting that Daniel Construction had paid the premiums for his workers compensation. They also added that the state’s guidance regarding statutory employees would not have been “served by granting CNA Holdings immunity for its wrongful conduct.”
Though the road to justice for mesothelioma victims can be long, having the right advocates on your side makes all the difference. To learn more about how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.