Asbestos Award is $1.6 Million

The Plain Dealer

February 11, 2000

Marcus Gleisser

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury awarded $1.6 million to the widow and three children of a welder who died in 1998 from health problems induced by long exposure to asbestos-containing pipe insulation manufactured by Pittsburgh Corning Corp.

Joseph Cicchillo, 78 when he died, had joined Republic Steel in 1951 at the Warren plant and retired after Republic Steel had been taken over by LTV Steel in 1984.

The verdict rendered last Friday was a unanimous decision by the five-woman three-man jury in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge James J. Sweeny.

Cicchillo was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of the lungs, in May 1998, said Michael V. Kelley, managing partner of the Cleveland law firm Kelley & Ferraro, who represented the Cicchillo estate. He said his firm is handling more than 15,000 asbestos cases in Ohio.

Gary Hermann of the Cleveland law firm of Hermann, Cahn & Schneider, which represented Pittsburgh Corning, said no decision had been made about whether to appeal.

Pittsburgh Corning is partially owned by PPG Industries Inc. It would not have to pay the entire amount of the verdict, Hermann said, because it would be offset by the amounts paid by several other defendant companies who settled with the Cicchillo estate before the two-week trial began in January.

It is believed to be one of the largest wrongful -death verdicts awarded in Ohio to someone of Cicchillo's age, Kelly said. Julia Cicchillo, the widow, lives in Bristolville, near Warren, in Trumbull County.