Jury Awards $1.7 Million to Plumber Exposed to Asbestos–Containing Insulation
SAN FRANCISCO — December 11, 1997 — A San Francisco jury awarded $1,713,500 to Arthur Manners, a retired plumber suffering from asbestosis and asbestos–related pleural disease due to his occupational exposure to asbestos–containing products. Mr. Manners currently resides in San Pablo, CA.
The defendant was Owens Corning, formerly known as Owens Corning Fiberglass, a Toledo, Ohio company that formerly manufactured, supplied, sold, and installed asbestos insulation, particularly pre–formed pipe insulation.
The trial began on September 22, 1997, before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith. The diagnosis that Mr. Manners was suffering from asbestos–related diseases was not disputed by Owens–Corning. Owens–Corning disputed the extent of medical damages and Owens Corning denied that its products were defective or that it was negligent.
At trial, Arthur Manners testified to his long history of asbestos exposure. He was a laborer for various employers from 1937–1946 and then worked as a plumber at various industrial and commercial Oregon job sites from 1946–1975.
The jury found that Owens Corning's asbestos products were defective and that Owens Corning was negligent in its manufacture, supply and sales of such products. The jury also found that Owens Corning acted with malice, fraud or oppression and that punitive damages should be imposed. The jury awarded $963,500 in compensatory damages, and $750,000 in punitive damages. The jury found Owens Corning responsible for 6% of Mr. Manners' injury.
Plaintiffs were represented at trial by Brayton Purcell LLP.