Family of Deceased Plasterer Awarded $2.9 Million Against Manufacturers of Asbestos–Containing Plastic Cements
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — January 10, 2000 — A San Francisco jury awarded $2,955,702.21 to the family of life–long plasterer, Roland McKinney. Mr. McKinney died at the age of 64 of malignant lung cancer caused in part by his occupational exposure to asbestos. Defendants included California Portland Cement, and Amcord, Inc.(formerly Riverside Cement Company), manufacturers of asbestos–containing construction products.
Mr. McKinney had an extensive work history involving asbestos exposure over many decades. Mr. McKinney was a radar operator in the U.S. Navy from 1953 through 1955 at the Naval Air Station, Point Magu, Oxnard, California and Port Hueneme Naval Base, Port Hueneme, California.
His primary exposure to asbestos stemmed from his lengthy career as a plasterer before and after his Naval duty. After working for Williamson Plastering from 1955 through 1983, Mr. McKinney began his own plastering business which he operated until 1989.
In 1996, Mr. McKinney was diagnosed with malignant lung cancer, and died shortly thereafter. Mr. McKinney was survived by his wife, Sharon and two children, Kevin and Melody.
Evidence was presented at trial that California Portland and Amcord were the primary manufacturers and suppliers of asbestos–containing "gun–applied plastic cements" in the Southern California area during Mr. McKinney's career. The evidence indicated that Mr. McKinney regularly used these products in the application of exterior finishes throughout his thirty years of plastering work. Gun–applied plastic cements were historically used to form supportive layers underneath stucco–finished construction in both residential and commercial buildings.
The jury found that California Portland and Amcord asbestos–containing products were defective, and that both defendants acted negligently in the manufacture and sale of these products. The jury found that Mr. McKinney's cancer was causally related to his exposure to asbestos–containing products. The jury further found that Mrs. McKinney and her family had suffered a loss of financial support as well as the love, companionship and moral support of Mr. McKinney as a result of his premature death.
The jury's award was divided into $205,702.21 for economic damages and $2,750,000 as non–economic damages. The jury made an additional special finding that Amcord, Inc. acted with conscious disregard for the rights and safety of its consumers, including decedent Mr. McKinney.