Louisiana Trial Court Judge Awards $7 Million at Conclusion of Asbestos Take-Home Exposure Trial
From: HarrisMartin’s Asbestos Publication – Asbestos Mesothelioma Lawyer
Date: May 6, 2016
NATCHITOCHES, LA –– A Louisiana judge has awarded $7 million to the surviving family members of a woman who allegedly developed mesothelioma as a result of take-home asbestos exposure.
Hon. Lala B. Sylvester of the Louisiana 10th Judicial District Court reached the decision on April 29, sources said. Ingersoll-Rand was the lone remaining defendant at the time of the verdict.
The plaintiffs asserted the claims on behalf of Myra Williams, contending that she developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers brought home on her husband’s work clothing. Myra Williams regularly laundered the work clothing of her husband, Jimmy Williams, a former employee at Placid Oil Co.
According to the plaintiffs, Jimmy Williams’ work at Placid Oil Co. required him to come into close contact with machinery insulated with asbestos-containing insulation. Williams specifically removed gaskets and insulation from the compressors, generating airborne asbestos dust, the plaintiffs said.
During trial, the plaintiffs maintained that Ingersoll-Rand knew of asbestos-related dangers by at least the 1950s, but failed to place warnings on its compressors. Judge Sylvester agreed, finding that Ingersoll-Rand was liable to the plaintiffs for its role in providing compressors containing asbestos to Placid Oil, sources said.
The defendant was found to be 100 percent liable for the plaintiffs’ wrongful death claims and 50 percent liable on Myra Williams’ survival claims as a result of strict liability laws in place during the time of exposure, sources told HarrisMartin.
The judge’s $7 million award included $3 million for the plaintiffs’ survival action; $1 million for Jimmy Williams’ wrongful death claim; and $750,000 for each of Myra Williams’ four children on the wrongful death claim.
Testifying on behalf of the plaintiff were Frank Parker, CIH; Victor Roggli, pathology; and Arnold Brody, Ph.D., pathology.
Ingersoll-Rand did not call any expert witnesses, sources said.
The plaintiffs were represented by Wells T. Watson and Jeffrey T. Gaughan of Baggett, McCall, Burgess, Watson & Gaughan in Lake Charles, La.; Lewis O. Unglesby and Lance C. Unglesby of The Unglesby Law Firm in Baton Rouge, La.; and Donald G. Kelly and William L. Townsend III of Kelly& Townsend from Natchitoches, La.
Ingersoll-Rand was represented by Joseph B. Morton III from Maron Marvel Bradley & Anderson LLC in New Orleans.
Williams v. Intersoll-Rand, No. 76,787, Div. B (La. 10th Jud. Dist. Ct., Natchitoches Parish).
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