Mesothelioma Victim Awarded $5.2 Million in Asbestos Lawsuit

06/09/2010 // Chicago, IL, USA // Cooney & Conway // Mesothelioma attorneys: Cooney & Conway

A Salt Lake City jury has awarded a Utah woman, now dying of asbestos-related cancer, $5.2 million in damages. In its decision, the panel found three companies—Georgia-Pacific LLP; Hamilton Materials, Inc.; and Union Carbide—liable for Vickie Warren’s mesothelioma, a nearly always fatal cancer of the protective lining covering many of the body’s internal organs.

The verdict is believed to be the largest asbestos-related award in Utah history.

Mesothelioma—in the vast majority of cases, the direct result of asbestos exposure—can develop decades after the victim inhales, often unknowingly, dangerous asbestos fibers.

As a teenager in Provo, Utah, Warren often helped her father with homebuilding projects. To smooth out joints in walls, Warren’s father used a compound that he would apply and shave down, with his daughter then cleaning up the dust and debris that resulted. What neither knew, according to Vickie Warren’s mesothelioma lawyer, Bob Gilchrist, was that the compound contained asbestos.

Asbestos, which had been a popular building material thanks to its heat- and fire-resistant properties, has long been linked to deadly diseases including mesothelioma and lung cancer. Gilchrist said that following a five-and-a-half-week trial, the jury found Georgia-Pacific and Hamilton Materials had produced “defectively designed” joint compounds made of asbestos-fiber products produced by Union Carbide.

Warren—whose mesothelioma was diagnosed in 2007 and who is now severely ill—was awarded approximately $1.4 million in economic damages and more than $3.7 million in noneconomic damages. While these are large numbers for a Utah asbestos lawsuit, mesothelioma lawyers in other states have been even more successful in obtaining compensation for asbestos victims, with bigger awards not uncommon.

For Warren, however, the award is more about justice than recovery. “She will pass away from [the mesothelioma],” says Gilchrist. “She’s a very heroic, very nice woman. . . . It is wonderful to finally have a jury pay attention and do what we thought was right by Vickie Warren.”

This news story was reported by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we’ve been seeking recovery and answers for those injured by the negligence of others. We’ve handled some of the most significant asbestos lawsuits in the country, obtaining compensation and justice for victims of asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma.

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