The source of Charley Edenfield’s mesothelioma was no mystery to his widow, Thomasina Fowler. She knew that Charley had worked for 40 years at a plant where asbestos was used on a constant basis: she just needed to prove who had provided the asbestos. After a long and contentious battle to have her late husband’s story heard, Ms. Fowler had her day in court, and on Tuesday a New Jersey jury awarded her $2.38 million in damages for the suffering that she and her husband endured and the expenses that they incurred. That award may go even higher, as the jury is now considering whether to assess punitive damages against the asbestos supplier, Union Carbide.
Though Union Carbide argued against the link between its product and Mr. Edenfield’s malignant mesothelioma, after three days of deliberation the jury disagreed with the corporate giant, believing the evidence submitted in court and siding with the widow. The nearly $2.4 million was broken down into sums of $2.1 million for the pain and suffering that the victim endured, $150,000 to his widow for her loss of companionship before his death, and $130,000 for the past and future economic impact of his death. The case was originally filed in June of 2011, shortly after Mr. Edenfield had died, but had been dismissed following Union Carbide filing a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was insufficient proof connecting them to the man’s illness. An appeals court overturned that decision and Ms. Fowler was able to present witness and documentary evidence of the extensive use of Union Carbide-supplied asbestos for 15 of the years that her husband worked at the plant, as well as testimony about his responsibilities there that put him in proximity to the carcinogenic material constantly. The jury also heard of the pain that Edenfield went through during his illness, ranging from physical suffering to the emotional impact of having to miss important family events, including his granddaughter’s graduation.
Mesothelioma robs people of their lives and families of their loved ones. If you or someone you love has been affected by this rare and fatal disease, we can help. Contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.