Cleveland OH – A jury in Cuyahoga County awarded $27515000 to a mesothelioma victim and his wife in an asbestos exposure suit filed against Kelsey Hayes Co, successor to the National Friction Products Corporation.
John Panza was regularly exposed to asbestos fibers and dust brought home by his father through his work clothes. Panza’s father was working with Eaton Airflex, a company that manufactured automobile brakes. He worked there between 1963 and 1993 in the receiving & shipping department. As his job required delivering of substances all through the factory and he was a regular bystander to many workers who drilled as well as abraded the products of National Friction Products. The work released dangerous asbestos fibers to Panza’s father. Panza was exposed to the deadly fibers while helping sort as well as wash the dusty laundry of his father, court documents indicate.
Panza was awarded $515000 in financial damages, in addition to $12M in non-financial damages. Jane Panza – his wife – was given $15M for her loss of consortium. The only defendant in this case was Kelsey Hayes, which was found 60 percent responsible. The court handed down the verdict on 18th December, 2013. By the Ohio state statutory law, Eaton Airflex was immune from the lawsuit.
Another trial will be there later in which another jury will determine if the plaintiffs have to be awarded any punitive damages. The jury will also decide the amount of punitive damages, if any.
Panza was diagnosed in year 2012 with malignant mesothelioma, a fatal cancer of the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is the most dangerous outcome of continuous asbestos exposure. This cancer is always deadly. Experts say asbestos exposure it the one and only reason for the development of mesothelioma. The cancer does not appear instantly after the exposure to asbestos fibers. In fact, it takes several decades to start showing the initial symptoms. However, once appeared, most mesothelioma victims die within a few months or a year. Panza, an English literature professor, is 40 years old now.
Panza’s attorney said he was really proud to represent the couple and to win true justice for them. He said he had never seen a more compelling family in the entire history of asbestos litigation.
The Panza couple has a daughter and they were hoping for more children. However, the cancer medications that Panza uses regularly prevent this from happening.