Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report on a major mesothelioma case against Honeywell International, which recently ended in a $10.9 million award for the plaintiffs. A jury in California awarded the millions to the family of a man who died from mesothelioma, which was caused by products made by Honeywell’s automotive unit.
The victim, James Phillips, was an automobile enthusiast who spent much of his time fixing and working on race cars, trucks and heavy equipment. He started working on cars in the 1960s, when asbestos was legally used in thousands of products, including brake pads and other automotive parts.
Phillips frequently used parts made by Bendix, which is owned by Honeywell. The company has been hit with many lawsuits because of these asbestos-containing auto parts. Plaintiffs in these cases, like Philips’ family, claim that the products were designed defectively for including asbestos.
Asbestos is a fiber-like material frequently used in friction materials and other products, like insulation and ceiling tiles, that are heat-resistant. The material can become airborne, so those working directly with asbestos or with products containing asbestos can easily breathe them in.
Once asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can lodge into the lung tissue and other organ linings. After several years – even decades – the asbestos fibers cause a specific type of cancer to develop. This cancer is known as mesothelioma, which is only caused by asbestos exposure, and is often diagnosed in workers who have worked with or around asbestos fibers.
The jury in California agreed that the automotive parts that Phillips was using were defectively made, and awarded his family $7.4 million in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages.
Honeywell is also facing several similar asbestos product liability cases in Pennsylvania, where about a dozen lawsuits were recently consolidated. In addition to Honeywell, the suits name defendants like Pfizer and Owens-Illinois, which produced asbestos-containing products.
These lawsuits were transferred to the court in Pennsylvania because there are currently several parallel cases pending there. These asbestos cases related to exposure that occurred at a steel plant in Northampton County. Consolidating them will make it easier to access witnesses, medical records, and other evidence for trial.
It is important to remember that mesothelioma is only caused by exposure to asbestos, and the company responsible for that exposure can – and should – be held legally liable. Even if the company is now bankrupt, or is owned by another company, it can be named as a defendant in an asbestos exposure lawsuit.
For example, the bankrupt company Garlock Sealing Technologies recently agreed to a $275 million fund, which will resolve all current and future asbestos-related claims. Asbestos funds such as this are quite common – particularly since asbestos was officially banned in the 1980s.
This type of bankruptcy reorganization is intended to provide fair compensation
to those seriously injured by asbestos. By providing funding, bankrupt
companies are able to resolve legal claims while saving both itself and
plaintiffs costs of litigation.
Currently, there is about $30 billion available in U.S. asbestos funds. Victims who were exposed to asbestos and developed consequent diseases, like lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis, are able to file claims against the negligent companies and ultimately settle.
Our team of mesothelioma lawyers has been helping victims and their families get back on their feet for 30 years. We know how devastating a mesothelioma or lung cancer diagnosis can be. Let us guide you through the legal process, so you can hold the company responsible for your exposure. Filing a claim will not only enable you to receive compensation for your financial losses, but will also help stop these companies and others like it from exposing more victims.