Texas Mesothelioma Asbestos Lawsuit Results in $11M Verdict
A jury in Dallas handed down the verdict on March 30 in favor of Vernon Walker and his wife, Patsy Walker. According to a press release issued by attorneys representing the couple, Walker was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer after working as a career painter in the construction industry.
Walker worked as a union painter on skyscrapers and other construction projects. The defendants in the asbestos exposure lawsuit said that the types of asbestos Walker had been exposed to, including chrysotile and calidria, do not cause asbestos-related cancer.
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The $11 million verdict apportioned 40% of the liability for Walker’s cancer to Union Carbide, and the rest of the blame was divided among defendants that included product manufacturers Bondex, Kelly Moore and Georgia Pacific. However, all of the defendants except Bondex settled out of court before a verdict was reached.
Mesothelioma is a rare and fatal form of cancer that is 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.
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. 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 in 2010.
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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