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$1.6 million verdict upheld on appeal

The Youngstown Vindicator

January 17, 2002

The court concluded the man’s death was a result of a 40-year exposure to asbestos as a steel worker.

Bristolville – The 8th District Court of Appeals in Cleveland has upheld a $1.6 million verdict a jury awarded in 2000 to the family of Joseph Cicchillo, a deceased LTV Steel employee who lived in Trumbull County.

The verdict was against Pittsburgh Corning Corp., which is partly owned by PPG Industries of Pittsburgh, which made asbestos pipe covering from 1962 to 1972.

A steelworker for 40 years, Cicchillo was 78 when he died in 1998 of mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs.

What was in suit: His wife, Julia, of Bristolville filed suit a month after his death, alleging the mesothelioma was caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos-containing pipe insulation manufactured by the Pittsburgh Corning Corp.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury awarded the $1.6 million to her and her three children, but Pittsburgh Corning appealed the verdict.

The three-judge Appeals Court panel unanimously upheld the verdict and concluded that the evidence presented supports the jury finding that Cicchillo’s mesothelioma was the result of more than 40 years’ exposure to the asbestos with which he worked.

Attorney Michael Kelley of the Cleveland law firm of Kelley Ferraro represented the Cicchillo estate. The firm is also handling more than 25,000 other asbestos cases in Ohio.

Other defendants: Several other defendant companies settled with the Cicchillo estate before the 2000 jury verdict was reached.

Kelley said the company filed for federal bankruptcy protection in April 2000, but the Cicchillo family verdict is secured by a $2.4 million bond the company posted to guarantee payment.

Cicchillo joined Republic Steel’s Warren plant in 1951 and retired in 1982 after Republic was taken over by LTV Steel. He was diagnosed with cancer in May 1998.

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