A worker from South Carolina, who is suffering from malignant mesothelioma, has won a jury award of $38 million against the manufacturers of asbestos-containing equipment.
Lloyd S Garvin was regularly exposed to the dangerous mineral in products such as valves and pumps which he used for many years while working at a factory and on his own family farm, court documents indicate. According to medical experts, Garvin has now less than 12 months to live because mesothelioma typically kills its victims within a year (although it takes a few decades to appear after the inhalation of asbestos fibers). Garvin is 74 years old.
Garvin’s lawsuit had initially named 13 companies as defendants. However, most of them settled the case out of court prior to the court trial. Only 3 companies – Crane Co, Byron Jackson, and Durco – faced the court trial.
Attorneys Theile McVey and Jessica Dean argued that the defendant companies should’ve known regarding the hazards of asbestos exposure, but never warned workers who used their asbestos-containing products about those risks.
Garvin testified through video as he is now recovering from a double pneumonia (infection on both the lungs). His doctors believe that he has only a few more months to live.
Mesothelioma is a fatal form of cancer which affects the linings of lungs, chest and abdominal cavity. There is only one known cause for this deadly cancer and that is asbestos exposure. When asbestos is disturbed or damaged during any work, it releases numerous microscopic fibers into the air. The workers deal with the material or anyone in the surroundings inhale these tiny asbestos fibers. These fibers stay on lungs for long and causes diseases such as mesothelioma after several decades.
Dean asked the court to award $1M to Garvin for each year that he’d have lived had he not developed the deadly cancer. She told the jury that Garvin could have lived another 10-11 years otherwise.
After deliberation for almost 4 hours, the jury returned and awarded the plaintiff with $10M in actual damages, in addition to $1M to Garvin’s wife Velda for her loss of consortium. Velda is 50 years old. Punitive damages were added to that by the jurors who asked Crane Co and Durco to pay $11m each. Byron Jackson was ordered to pay $5M to the plaintiff.
Terry Budd, the attorney represented Crane Co, said the verdict was “flawed.” He said the company would definitely appeal the ruling.