A San Francisco jury has awarded the family of a deceased plant worker $3.4 million in a mesothelioma asbestos lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed by the family of Richard Worthley Sr. against Advocate Mines Limited of Baie Verte, Newfoundland, who supplied asbestos fiber to the Johns-Manville plant in Waukegan, Ill., where Worthley worked for 24 years.
Worthley was diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos exposure in 2004, which is a rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of the chest and lung. It is often not detected until decades after exposure to asbestos, when it is already at an advanced stage.
The asbestos lawsuit alleges claims for negligence, product liability and failure to warn about the dangers associated with the asbestos fibers Advocate Mines Limited supplied to the Johns-Manville plant between 1963 and 1981.
Worthley worked as a painter, production planner and millwright at the plant, where the fibers were turned into Transite asbestos-cement pipes. The family argued that Worthley breathed in asbestos dust and fibers for years while working at the plant, leading to his cancer.
According to the complaint, the dangers of asbestos were established by 1963 and Advocate Mines Limited should have known to provide better warning and more safety measures with its product.
The jury agreed with the lawsuit’s charges and awarded the plaintiffs $877,750 in economic damages, and $2,500,000 in non-economic damages, saying that the mining company was 5% liable for Worthley’s death. The plant where Worthley worked has been out of business since 1984.
Mesothelioma litigation is the longest-running mass tort in the history of the United States, with more than 600,000 plaintiffs having filed cases since the first asbestos lawsuit was filed in 1929. Estimates suggest that payouts to individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related injuries may one day reach a combined total of more than $200 billion.