First Ever Asbestos Compensation Verdict against US Welding Rods Industry Affirmed by New York Appeals Court
The firs-ever asbestos compensation verdict against the US welding rods industry, awarded to two LPK clients last year, has been affirmed by New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division.
NEW YORK, New York, December 29, 2004 - In the second major verdict against the US welding industry in little more than a week, a New York Appellate Court affirms the first-ever jury finding that asbestos-containing welding rods, sold in the billions up to the early 1980s, had caused asbestos lung cancer and mesothelioma, attorney Jerome H. Block of the nationally known law firm of Levy Phillips and Konigsberg, LLP, announced today.
The New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, in a published decision, upheld the July 2003 asbestos compensation verdict in favor of two persons, Angel Gomez1, who died following the trial, and the late Daniel Tucker2. Both men worked with and around asbestos-containing welding rods.
The jury awarded Gomez a total of approximately $3.19 Million against Lincoln Electric Company ("Lincoln"), reduced by 25 percent since Gomez was a cigarette smoker, and Tucker’s estate a total of approximately $3.45 Million split between Lincoln and Hobart Brothers Company ("Hobart").
Lincoln, publicly traded, and Hobart, a wholly owned subsidiary of publicly traded Illinois Tool Works, Inc., "had argued that their asbestos product was different and incapable of causing lung cancer and mesothelioma. The jury rejected these arguments, and now their verdict has been unanimously upheld by the appellate court," Block said.
This landmark New York appellate decision came on the heels of a December 20th Illinois appellate court decision upholding a $1 Million negligence and product liability award to Lawrence E. Elam against Lincoln, Hobart, and Airco/The BOC Group, Inc. After a four-week trial a jury found that manganese fumes from the defendants’ welding rods caused central nervous system injury resulting in Elam's Parkinson's disease. Elam is represented by Robert Bosslet, Esq., of Bosslet & O'Leary, Ltd., Madison County, Illinois.
The welding rods at issue in the Gomez and Tucker cases, known by their American Welding Society Classification "6010", were and continue to be a top-selling, all-purpose welding rod. Up to the early 1980s, these rods were coated with a mixture containing 5% to 15% asbestos, according to trial testimony. "We proved that asbestos from the coating of these rods would be released in the air and breathed in by workers like Mr. Gomez and Mr. Tucker who had no idea that asbestos could kill them," Block explained.
For at least a half century, from the 1930s through the early 1980s, Lincoln manufactured billions of asbestos-containing welding rods, which were commonly used in industry, Block noted. In addition to welders, others who worked around them were endangered by these rods, Block added.
According to trial testimony, during these five decades, Lincoln never informed workers that there was asbestos in the coating of any of its welding rods, including the 6010s, and never placed a warning label on the container of these rods about the hazards of asbestos exposure.
The jury found that Gomez was exposed to asbestos from welding rods made by Lincoln, and that the rods were a "defective", unreasonably dangerous product under New York law. The jury also found that Lincoln was negligent in selling the asbestos-containing rods without adequate warning, and that Gomez’s exposure to the rods was a substantial cause of his lung cancer.
In the Tucker case the jury made the same findings against Lincoln and Hobart with respect to Tucker’s mesothelioma. In both cases, the jury made the additional finding that Lincoln acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others, according to Block.
"The havoc wreaked by asbestos and the toll it continues to take in human lives and health is sad testament to the failure of many companies to adhere to the basic corporate responsibility of protecting human life," Block said. "This appellate victory is a major milestone for welders, those who worked around welders, and their families who have been victimized by asbestos-caused cancers," Block added.
For over a quarter of a century, mesothelioma lawyers at Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, have been among the pioneers of asbestos litigation in America. The firm’s attorneys have been recognized as nationwide leaders in representing the rights of mesothelioma victims and their families. Their clients have received some of the largest mesothelioma compensation verdicts in the country.
For more information about this or other mesothelioma lawsuits, please contact Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP, at 212-605-6200 or 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Mesothelioma has no known cure and often causes severe pain, suffering, and other types of damage, such as loss of consortium, and loss of income. Additionally, due to the exceedingly high cost of mesothelioma treatments, many families exhaust savings and accumulate financial debt in order to pay for the medical expenses of their family member.
Under the law of most states, pain and suffering from mesothelioma may be compensated through the award of money damages, usually obtained with the help of experienced mesothelioma attorneys. In some states other types of damages may also be recovered.
Asbestos litigation affords mesothelioma victims the opportunity to receive financial compensation and hold accountable the companies that caused their asbestos exposure.
If you or your family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should get in touch with a mesothelioma lawyer as early as possible to determine if you have a mesothelioma case and to:
- Preserve your rights to bring a legal action against the responsible parties within the limited time frame allowed by law, known as statute of limitations;
- Obtain maximum compensation in your case by being able to:
- Preserve evidence and establish facts of the asbestos exposure while the claimant is still alive and able to provide information;
- File and resolve a lawsuit against the responsible parties before they file for bankruptcy or, if they already have, to obtain compensation before their bankruptcy trust funds run out of money;
- Expedite your case, as courts tend to give higher priority to mesothelioma lawsuits where the claimant is still alive.
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline at 1-800-MESO-LAW (1-800-637-6529) or by submitting an email inquiry (see form above). Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
While our offices are located in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Georgia, many of our mesothelioma lawyers are licensed to practice law in a number of U.S. states and have the capability and extensive experience of representing mesothelioma clients throughout the United States.
1 Angel Gomez, Plaintiff-Respondent, v A C & S, Inc., et al., Defendants, The Lincoln Electric Company, Defendant-Appellant;
2 Christine Wiegman, Individually and as the Administratrix of the Estate of Daniel Tucker, Plaintiff-Respondent, v A C & S, Inc., et al., Defendants, The Lincoln Electric Company, et al., Defendants-Appellants.
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