Second-hand Asbestos Exposure Lawsuit

June 10, 2013 — Last week, a jury in California awarded $27,342,500 in damages for plaintiffs Rose-Marie and Martin Grigg for her second-hand asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuit. Mrs. Grigg developed mesothelioma after extensive second-hand exposure to asbestos while shaking out and washing her husband’s clothing. He worked as an insulator for eight years with a company that failed to disclose Kaylo brand insulation contained asbestos, a known carcinogen.

The lawsuit alleges that the insulation manufacturer failed to adequately warn about the risk of mesothelioma from asbestos. Mrs. Grigg’s late husband died of mesothelioma after using Kaylo brand insulation products manufactured by Owens-Illinois, Inc. Lawyers presented evidence that Owens knew as early as the 1930s that asbestos-containing products were toxic, but instead advertised Kaylo as “non-toxic” and did not warn that the products contained asbestos.

The jury awarded $12 million in damages to Mrs. Grigg. Mr. Grigg was awarded $4 million for loss of consortium with his spouse. The couple was awarded $342,500 for their out-of-pocket expenses and economic damages. The jury also awarded them $11 million in punitive damages against Owens-Illinois.

In recent years, several second-hand asbestos lawsuits have been awarded multi-million dollar jury awards. In February 2008, a jury in New Jersey awarded $30.3 million to the family of Mark Buttitta, a man who died of mesothelioma. His lawyers alleged that he was exposed to asbestos directly while working in an auto parts warehouse, and also had second-hand exposure from fibers on his father’s and brother’s clothing. The jury award was affirmed by the Superior Court of New Jersey in 2010.

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused by breathing fibers of asbestos. The cancer develops in the lining of the chest and lungs, and it is often life-threatening or deadly because it is rarely diagnosed in its early stages. Mesothelioma is most common in industrial workers who were exposed to asbestos before it was banned in the mid-1980s, but it can also cause cancer in family-members who were exposed to asbestos on fibers of clothing, shoes, skin, or hair.

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