School Bus Driver Awarded $3.47 Million in Asbestos Case Against Automotive Parts Co.
In yet another secondhand asbestos exposure case, the widow of a former school bus driver and janitor has been awarded more than $3 million. The widow (plaintiff) filed suit on behalf of her husband who she alleged was exposed to asbestos in the bus garage at the school where he worked. Her husband, she said, routinely spent time in the garage during his bus runs where he was exposed to asbestos-containing dust from defendant Navistar’s brakes and gaskets.
Back in 2014, a jury initially awarded the plaintiff $7.7 million. The award consisted of $3 million in emotional pain and suffering between the onset of the decedent’s disease and his death, $3 million in conscious pain and suffering, and $200,000 for loss of services and society from the onset of the decedent’s disease until death. The award also included $1 million for wrongful death from the date of death until the date of the verdict, and $500,000 for wrongful death from the date of verdict until the time decedent would have otherwise been expected to live.
Some of the most damaging testimony to the defendants case came from Dr. Abraham who testified that “both long (greater than five microns) and short fibers, found in brake dust cause mesothelioma, and that even if a small percentage of such fibers are greater than five microns, they would still be in the millions. He further testified that the levels of such asbestos measured in the air in the vicinity of break work were at least 10,000 times above background levels of asbestos, which would be sufficient to cause mesothelioma.”
Navistar attorneys argued that this testimony should be stricken based on what they said was a “lack of epidemiological studies showing an increased risk of mesothelioma in auto mechanics.” In addition, the company also requested a new trial. Both requests (among others) were denied. However, Navistar did succeeded in getting the original $7.7 million verdict reduced. On November 8, 2017, the award was reduced, leaving the plaintiff with $3.47 million. The biggest reduction was to the wrongful death portion of the award, which was reduced from $1.5 million to $270,000.
Although the award was significantly reduced, it is still considered a victory for the plaintiff and future asbestos victims.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Though there is no cure for mesothelioma, early detection could lead to better treatment options and increased survival.
“Justice Reduces, But Otherwise Affirms Asbestos Verdict For Bus Driver." Lexis Legal News. LexisNexis, 21 Nov. 2017. Web. 06 Dec. 2017.
Supreme Court of the State of New York.