Global Automaker’s Bid to Overturn $9.1 Million Mesothelioma Judgment Denied
A global automaker’s bid to overturn a $9.1 million verdict has been denied by a Delaware judge. In the lawsuit filed by the widow of an auto mechanic and owner of an automotive business, the plaintiff claimed that auto giant Ford Motor Company was among those responsible for her husband’s death. In the suit, the plaintiff claimed that her husband’s long career as an auto mechanic, and later owner of his own automotive business, resulted in continued exposure to asbestos-contaminated products manufactured by Ford and other manufacturers.
The original suit was filed in June of 2018. When the jury returned its verdict in the case, it found Ford 20% responsible for the victim’s death. The widow was awarded more than $40 million in compensatory damages, prompting Ford to file two motions. The first motion requested that the verdict be overturned and/or that the case be heard again based on a matter of law. The second motion sought a new trial stating that the award was excessive and should be reconsidered based on this assertion.
The Superior Court of Delaware denied both motions, leaving the $9.1 million verdict and judgment against Ford in place.
Asbestos and the Automotive Industry: How to Stay Safe
The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that while many brakes and clutches in new and recent model automobiles do not contain asbestos, it has not been totally eliminated. In fact, many mechanics, automotive repair shop employees, and do-it-yourselfers are “unaware that asbestos may be present in both old and replacement brakes and clutches.”
Exposure to asbestos, if not properly controlled can cause mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. Symptoms may not appear for years, even decades, after contact with asbestos fibers. To reduce the potential exposure to asbestos, the OSHA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly recommend that all automotive brake and clutch repair work be done by professional auto mechanics who are well-informed of OSHA's asbestos standard, which requires the use of controls and safe work practices when employees work with brake shoes and clutches that contain asbestos.
If you think you may have been exposed to asbestos in the workplace during your lifetime, see your doctor immediately. Remember, mesothelioma symptoms may take years to develop after exposure to asbestos. By this time, it may already be too late. Fortunately, even if you do not have any symptoms, your doctor can assess your risk and establish a monitoring plan that could help detect mesothelioma sooner and in its most treatable stages.
Although there is no cure for the disease, early detection could lead to better treatment options and outcomes. See your doctor to assess your risk today.
“Asbestos-Automotive Brake and Clutch Repair Work.” OSHA.gov, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), United States Department of Labor, 26 Jul. 2006. Web. 18 Feb. 2019.
“Ford Denied New Trial in $9M Asbestos Death Verdict.” Law360.com, LexisNexis, Portfolio Media, Inc., 01 Feb. 2019. Web. 18 Feb. 2019.