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Construction Company Loses Appeal, Ordered to Pay Asbestos Victim More than $2.6 Million

A construction company has lost an appeal to have a $2 million asbestos verdict overturned on technical grounds.

The original case involved a bank management trainee who claimed he was exposed to asbestos while working at a bank branch that was under construction. Assigned to the bank in the early 1970s, the manager worked on an unfinished fourth floor in a section protected only by plastic sheets. In his claim, the manager stated that his suits were always covered in dust and that he was constantly wiping down his dust-covered desk. He believed that an asbestos-contaminated joint compound used by the construction company at his workplace caused him to develop malignant mesothelioma some 40 years later. He was diagnosed in 2013.

A jury agreed with the manager’s claim, finding the construction company negligent and liable for $8 million for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. Acknowledging that the bank manager also received judgments from other defendants, the award was later reduced to $2 million. Although the construction company did not have to pay a large percentage of the original judgment, it still decided to appeal the reduced amount based on “technical” grounds.

In the end, a Maryland appellate court has decided against the construction company, concluding that the evidence “sufficiently identified” the construction company as the contractor for the plaintiff’s jobsite. So, in addition to the $2 million judgment, the construction company was ordered to pay for the costs of litigating the appeal. According to HarrisMartin Publishing, the final judgment totaled more than $2.6 million.

Asbestos exposure can occur anywhere. It can occur in your own home, at school, at work, and even in outdoor air. In fact, the American Cancer Society says, “many people are exposed to very low levels of naturally occurring asbestos in outdoor air as a result of erosion of asbestos-containing rocks.” And the “risk of this is higher in areas where rocks have higher asbestos content.” In some areas, asbestos can even be detected in the water supply.

“Family members of asbestos workers can also be exposed to high levels of asbestos because the fibers can be carried home on the workers’ clothing, and can then be inhaled by others in the households” says the ACS. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid exposure to asbestos. Wearing protective clothing at work, having your home tested, or having the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) make an inspection at your school or workplace are just a few solutions.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection often leads to better treatment options and outcomes. Talk to your doctor today.

 

Sources

“Asbestos and Cancer Risk.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society Inc., 2018. Web. 19 July 2018.

“Md. Appellate Court Affirms $2.6 Million Judgment Entered in Asbestos Case Against Drywall Contractor.” HarrisMartin Publishing. HarrisMartin Publishing, 09 July 2018. Web. 19 July 2018.