Jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages
An Alameda County court recently ruled on a mesothelioma case, awarding $22 million in damages to the plaintiffs.
The case was brought by the surviving family members of Richard Booker, a paint maker and tinter who worked at Dexter-Midland Chemical Co. as an employee of Imerys from 1972 to 1993. During that time Booker was exposed to asbestos-containing talc, which was used to manufacture paint. Fast forward roughly 22 years and Booker found himself diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Asbestos exposure is the only known cause for this type of cancer. A long incubation period is common for mesothelioma, as it can take decades for the asbestos fibers which lodged in the lungs during the initial exposure to cause the development of cancerous tumors in the lungs. Less than a year after being diagnosed, Booker passed away from mesothelioma at age 72.
Booker’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Imerys and Dexter-Midland Chemical Co. In the lawsuit the plaintiffs argued that management of these companies knowingly put Booker and other workers at risk by having them work with asbestos-containing talc. The workers were not informed of the risk or provided with proper protective gear to prevent them from ingesting asbestos.
The jury in the case found for the plaintiffs, finding that both Imerys and Dexter-Midland were responsible for Booker’s workplace asbestos exposure and his eventually illness and death. Imerys was assigned 40 percent of the liability and Dexter-Midland was assigned 60 percent.
The damages in the case included $400,000 in damages to cover Booker’s medical bills and other economic damages. The jury also awarded $8.13 million to Booker’s widow, $3 million to each of his two daughters, and $1 million to each of his three grandchildren. A few weeks later, punitive damages in the amount of $4.6 million were also awarded in the case.
Unlike compensatory damages, which are awarded to cover the plaintiff’s losses, punitive damages are awarded to punish a defendant who has acted with malice or extreme recklessness. Punitive damages are unusual in a personal injury case, and it is unknown whether this case will be appealed.
Has Workplace Asbestos Exposure Harmed Your Family?
If you or a loved one has been sickened by asbestos exposure, The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker can help you pursue appropriate compensation. We handle cases involving workers exposed on the job as well as family members sickened by asbestos dust that workers brought home on their clothing. For more information, call us at 800-333-0000 now.