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Family awarded $13M for asbestos-related cancer death

Though the incident did not occur in Ohio, a recent wrongful death lawsuit highlights the ongoing tragedies that asbestos leaves in its wake. A grieving family was awarded a $13 million judgement after the death of their loved one from cancer caused by asbestos exposure. The man was apparently exposed to asbestos because of a sugar refinery owned by Hillshire Brands Company.

According to court documents, the man, age 60, died in July 2015 from mesothelioma – a progressive lung disease related to asbestos exposure. The lawsuit claimed the deceased contracted the cancer due to growing up in a small company town near the refinery. Additionally, the housing in which he resided, which was also owned by the Hillshire company, apparently contained asbestos as well.

Court documents state that the man was exposed to the asbestos fibers when they were emitted during the activities that occurred at the Union Sugar Refinery, such as operation, maintenance and disposal. These activities apparently caused contamination of the area surrounding the plant – including the company housing – with the friable asbestos fibers. Furthermore, the deceased's father and grandfather were both employed at the refinery, which contributed to secondary exposure.

Evidence during the trial showed that employees of the Hillshire company frequently worked with asbestos without proper safety precautions. The jury decided in favor of the deceased man's family, awarding them $11 million for non-economic damages and an additional $1.9 million for economic damages for the company's fault and negligence. While a successfully litigated asbestos wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio cannot bring back a loved one lost to cancer, it can at least bring some small measure of justice, as well as financial compensation to aid with the resultant medical and funeral expenses.

Source:, "Deceased man's family wins $13 million judgment in mesothelioma case against Hillshire Farms", Laura Halleman, Sep. 8, 2017

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