A California jury has awarded a combined total of over $4.3 million to the families of three men who died from asbestos lung cancer.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against Plant Insulation Company, who supplied pipe insulation products containing asbestos that the three men worked with as industrial plumbers and pipefitters.
Following a month-long trial and two days of deliberation, Plant Insulation Company was found to be partially responsible for each of their asbestos-related lung cancers and deaths. The jury returned a verdict of $2,122,860.69 for the family of James M. Harris, $1,277,000 for the family of William C. Hearn and $858,738.06 for the family of George P. Wetch.
Harris died from asbestos lung cancer at age 81, and was survived by his wife and four children. Plant Insulation Company was found to be 79% responsible for his asbestos illness, and 21% of the fault was attributed to other manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos who were not defendants in the case.
Hearn died at age 72, and was survived by his wife and one child. The jury only allocated 59% of the fault for his lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure to Plant Insulation Company, and the remaining portion of fault was attributed to exposure from other companies at a variety of Bay-Area industrial sites.
Wetch died at age 84, survived by his wife and son, with the jury finding that Plant Insulation Company was 69% at fault.
Since the first case was filed in 1929, asbestos wrongful death lawsuits have been filed by hundreds of thousands of people who developed mesothelioma lung cancer after exposure to fibers or dust from asbestos, which was commonly used for insulation and in the construction industry until the 1980s.
Approximately 2,500 people die each year from lung cancer and asbestos related diseases caused by inhalation of the fibers, which often do not surface for several decades after exposure.