Asbestos Wrongful Death Damage Awards to 11 Families Total $90M

Two Swiss companies have been ordered to pay $90.5 million in damages to the families of 11 individuals who died from asbestos-related illnesses developed while working in a New Jersey insulation plant. 

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Ana Viscomi issued default judgments earlier this month against Anova Holding AG and Becon AG, after the companies failed to respond to wrongful death complaints filed by the families or send legal representatives to a week-long hearing.

Both companies, based in Switzerland, allegedly supplied asbestos to the Johns Manville insulation plant in New Jersey, and were legally served and notified of the asbestos lawsuits through procedures laid out in international treaties, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys involved in the claims.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.


Judge Viscomi issued a default judgment in favor of the families, who had filed the lawsuits between 2008 and 2011, and then issued damage awards ranging from $4 million to $15 million. However, it is unclear whether the families will ever be able to collect those damages from the foreign-held companies.

The two companies are successors who hold the most shares of Eternit Group, which sold South African asbestos around the world. One former director of Eternit, Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss national, is currently serving an 18-year sentence for being linked to the deaths of 3,000 people from asbestos-related illnesses.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s.

When inhaled, asbestos fibers have been linked to the development of lung disease, as well as a rare and deadly form of cancer known as mesothelioma, which is found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The disease has a very long latency period and is often not discovered until decades after exposure, leading to a limited life expectancy after a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Asbestos litigation is the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a lawsuit against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer that was allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos, in recent years there have been a growing number of mesothelioma lawsuits brought following second hand exposure, with wives, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.


  • ChristineAugust 16, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    These companies never paid the victims/ families involved. These articles are misleading.

  • SUEFebruary 27, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I was exposed to asbestos daily that was on the dirty laundry that my husband had worn to work and I laundried.

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