Los Angeles, CA ( Mesothelioma News) – In a verdict that left no question about a Los Angeles jury’s view of the impact and egregiousness of an asbestos manufacturer’s behavior, a woman who contracted mesothelioma-a deadly cancer almost always caused by asbestos exposure-simply by washing her husband’s work clothes was awarded nearly $209 million.
Rhonda Evans’s spouse, a retired Department of Water and Power (DWP) worker in L.A., handled asbestos-laden pipes as part of his job, and he regularly brought home clothes containing the hazardous material.
Mesothelioma-long linked to asbestos exposure-is a cancer of the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs. It is usually not diagnosed until decades after exposure, at which point treatment is almost invariably unsuccessful.
The Evans case, mesothelioma lawyers said, is significant not only for the verdict’s size, but also because it demonstrates that even people who don’t work around asbestos can be exposed to it and are, therefore, at risk for cancer and other deadly diseases.
In its verdict, the L.A. jury found that Mrs. Evans’s mesothelioma had been caused by exposure to asbestos dust on her husband Bobby’s work clothes. That asbestos came from CertainTeed cement water pipes he worked with while at DWP. The jury awarded $8.8 million in compensatory damages against CertainTeed-a Valley Forge, Pa., manufacturer of building materials-and DWP. CertainTeed was ordered to pay an additional $200 million in punitive damages.
“It is our hope that the damages awarded will relieve some of Rhonda’s suffering, as well as the burden of her medical expenses,” said William Levin, a mesothelioma lawyer with Levin Simes Kaiser & Gornick, which represented Mrs. Evans in her asbestos lawsuit.
“We also hope that the punitive damage award will serve to make the community safer by making manufacturers think twice before concealing dangerous characteristics of their products,” Levin said.
Larry Gornick, another asbestos lawyer with Levin Simes, said the jury found CertainTeed had knowledge that asbestos caused cancer as far back as the early 1960s-but continued to manufacture the asbestos-laden pipes, waiting until 1985 to place a cancer warning on them.
“CertainTeed was fully aware that its products contained cancer-causing asbestos, but chose not to warn about the risk [for lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other diseases] for decades,” said Levin.
After Bobby Evans retired from DWP, the couple, now in their 60s, relocated to North Carolina. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Conrad R. Aragon is expected to hear a series of motions as the asbestos lawsuit enters its post-verdict phase.
This news story was brought to you by the asbestos mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than 50 years, Cooney & Conway has been fighting for the rights and recovery of those harmed by the actions of others-including victims of deadly asbestos-related diseases, such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
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