Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a Louisiana jury recently awarded a mesothelioma patient $5.95 million in damages. The plaintiff sued Dow Chemical for knowingly exposing him to asbestos, thereby causing his cancer development.
Sidney Mabile was exposed to asbestos at the Plaquemine Dow Chemical plant when he worked there as an electrician. Dow’s Placquemine facility is the largest chemical plant in petrochemical-rich Louisiana, and Dow continues, to this day, to use asbestos in its products.
It was revealed during trial that, as far back as 1970, executives at Dow were aware that a significant amount of its employees were at risk of asbestos exposure and consequent development of related illnesses, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Asbestos is extremely inexpensive, however, and Dow determined that it would be more cost effective to continue asbestos use. Now, even employees that did not work directly with asbestos are prematurely dying from the devastating cancer.
Dow employs about 50,000 people worldwide, generating about $60 billion in sales every year. Most companies discontinued asbestos use around 1979 when it was recognized as a known human carcinogen. The mineral is, however, about ten times less expensive to process than its alternatives, so a few profit-hungry corporations such as Dow continue to use it. Internal documents reveal that Dow even hired a lobbyist in Washington to oppose the EPA’s total ban on asbestos.
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In a similar lawsuit against Dow in 2011, a Texas family successfully argued that the company was responsible for the death of Robert Henderson. Robert died of asbestos-caused cancer after being exposed during his employment at the Dow plant in Freeport, Texas. He installed asbestos-containing insulation on pipes as a contracted employee for Dow in the late 1960s. Henderson’s wife and daughters filed suit against the company and were ultimately awarded $9 million.
Dow Chemical frequently sold asbestos-containing products to numerous other companies, such as Kelly-Moore Paint Company, which used the materials to make building tape. Kelly-Moore was recently ordered to pay about $200 million in damages to employees and consumers who were sickened due to the asbestos exposure.
Union Carbide Corporation is owned by Dow, and has been at the center of several large asbestos payouts in recent years. One of which was filed by the family of a mesothelioma victim in California. The state jury found Union negligent in concealing the risk of asbestos exposure from consumers, and awarded the family $48 million.
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Throughout the course of this trial, internal documents from Union Carbide revealed that it knew that asbestos caused cancer even in minuscule or brief exposures. The company chose not to disclose this risk however, because it believed it would be detrimental to its building supplies sales. Union’s medical, legal, and marketing departments were all aware of the effects of exposure on human health.
The California plaintiff worked as a cement contractor in the 1950s and a general contractor until he retired in 1994, building small homes in the Los Angeles area. He was exposed to asbestos dust while working on the homes. A similar case against Union was successfully fought in Texas, when a couple was awarded $8.2 million for exposure to asbestos and consequent mesothelioma diagnosis. The plaintiff in that case was a pipe-fitter in the 1950s and 1960s, working at Union Carbide and Hexion plants in the state.
Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are currently investigating and accepting cases involving asbestos exposure and cancer development. If you or a loved one was exposed to asbestos on the job, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation through a lawsuit against the negligent parties.