Record $322M Asbestos Lawsuit Award Tossed Out by US Judge

01/05/2012 // WPB, FL, USA // Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Jackson, MS — The largest asbestos award for a single plaintiff in U.S. history has just been thrown out by a Mississippi judge, after the case began to fall apart when the Mississippi Supreme Court was asked to remove the presiding judge for failure to disclose personal bias, the Associated Press reports.

Last year, defense lawyers requested that the presiding judge, Circuit Judge Eddie Bowen, be removed because he allegedly failed to disclose that his parents had been involved in a similar asbestos litigation against one of the same companies.

The appointed Judge, Williams Coleman, vacated the $322 million lawsuit verdict and award on Dec. 27.

Thomas Brown sued Union Carbide Corporation, after he inhaled asbestos dust while mixing drilling mud sold and manufactured by Union Carbide and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.

Brown said he was diagnosed with asbestosis and required oxygen 24-hours a day. Brown was awarded $300 million in punitive damages and $22 million in actual damages in May.

Union Carbide asked the Supreme Court to remove Bowen after they learned that Bowen was a practicing attorney when his father and mother sued Union Carbide for $1 million for emotional distress.

The Associated Press reported that Union Carbide “learned that Judge Bowen’s father had filed two asbestos lawsuits, one of which remains pending; and that both Judge Bowen’s father and mother had settled asbestos claims with UCC and other defendants based on a diagnosis of asbestosis — which is the same disease claimed in this case.”

Union Carbide further asserts that Bowen’s prejudices and bias were apparent in his rulings, comments in front of the jury, and his coaching of Brown’s attorneys in questioning witnesses.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for asbestos lawyers.

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