Jury awards $5.8M in wrongful death asbestos exposure suit

Companies in Ohio and across the nation should be reasonably responsible for the safety of their employees. Sometimes, of course, a worker is injured or becomes ill due to a simple oversight or laxity on the part of an employer, and while this is still unacceptable, it is far less upsetting than cases of blatant disregard for employee well-being. A recent case of asbestos litigation in another state demonstrated just such an instance of disregard after a company letter surfaced that demonstrated both knowledge and indifference in regard to the link between asbestos exposure and the resultant increased risk of cancer to employees.

An employee of The Bendix Corporation was diagnosed in March 2012 with mesothelioma. When the man died 11 months after the original suit was filed, his widow amended the complaint to include wrongful death. In a testimony before his passing, the man identified Bendix as one of a number of companies that made the asbestos-laden products with which he worked throughout his life. While most of the companies named as defendants settled before the trial for a total of more than $4 million, one company refused to settle.

The sole remaining defendant was Honeywell International, the corporate successor to Bendix, who used asbestos up until 2001 in many brakes made at its plant. Despite the company's argument to the contrary, the plaintiff was able to successfully prove that Bendix was aware of the unhealthiness presented by asbestos exposure and the risk of cancer it provided to employees. Among other evidence of the company's knowledge and disregard of the hazards of asbestos was a letter, written by a Bendix official, which flippantly implied that everyone has to die for some reason, so in the case of employees who work with asbestos, that might as well be the cause of their death.

Jurors found in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring that the Bendix official acted with malice and oppression and was 30 percent responsible for the wrongful death of the employee. The total amount of damages awarded was $5.877 million. Anyone in Ohio who has lost loved ones due to mesothelioma or other types of cancer linked to asbestos exposure might benefit from contacting an attorney with experience in similar types of cases. A lawyer can help wronged family members and loved ones pursue justice and recompense for their loss.

Source: metnews.co, "Court Upholds $5.8 Million Award in Asbestos Case", Kenneth Ofgang, March 21, 2017

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