Peritoneal Mesothelioma Lawsuit Results in $14M Verdict

A Florida jury has awarded a Sarasota construction worker $14 million in a peritoneal mesothelioma lawsuit against Union Carbide.

The complaint was filed by William Aubin against the chemical manufacturer, and several other defendants, including Georgia-Pacific, alleging that they failed to warn construction companies that their joint compounds were made using asbestos. Aubin allegedly contracted peritoneal mesothelioma due to asbestos exposure in the 1970s while working for his parents’ construction company, Key Biscayne.

A Miami jury determined late last week that Union Carbide was chiefly responsible for Aubin’s cancer, and ruled that some of the other defendants also shared in that responsibility.

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Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer from asbestos that is usually found in the lining of the chest and lungs. The only known cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure, and it is often not diagnosed until decades after exposure. As a result of the long latency period, the cancer is very advanced when it is diagnosed and life expectancy with the disease is limited.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare form of the disease which affects the abdominal cavity. It comprises only about 30% of all mesothelioma cancer cases and is only diagnosed in the U.S. between 100 and 500 times per year.

Asbestos was widely used in a variety of manufacturing and construction applications throughout the last century, particularly shipbuilding, with use peaking in 1973. Most uses of asbestos were banned in the mid-1980s. Despite the ban, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the number of mesothelioma deaths continues to rise each year due to the latency period, with the number expected to peak this year.

Asbestos mesothelioma lawsuits are the longest running mass tort in U.S. history, with the first asbestos exposure case filed in 1929. Over 600,000 people have filed lawsuits against 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases.

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