Paper Mill Worker Developed Asbestosis from Asbestos in Dryer Felts

Seattle Jury Delivers Plaintiff Verdict of $242,500 in Asbestosis Case

King County, Washington — April 4, 2005 — A Seattle jury delivered a plaintiff's verdict for Ernest Coulter, a 75–year old Port Hadlock resident suffering from asbestosis. The verdict included economic, non–economic, and loss of consortium damages totaling $242,500.

Ernest Coulter was diagnosed with asbestosis in June 2000. Mr. Coulter and his wife, LeRose, have been married for 47 years. Mr. Coulter worked as a laborer at Crown Zellerbach, also known as Port Townsend Paper Co., in Port Townsend, WA from 1946–1992. During his work as a laborer, Mr. Coulter worked in all areas of the paper mill, and was exposed to various asbestos products, including asbestos dryer felts. Among his many duties, Mr. Coulter assisted with the changing of dryer felts on paper machines.

Asten Johnson manufactured and distributed asbestos–containing dryer felts. Dryer felts are used throughout the paper–making industry. Dryer felts are used inside large paper machines, during the paper–making process. Dryer felts were made from woven asbestos yarn. They are still used today, but with new synthetic yarns and fabrics. Huge rolls of felts are run through paper machines daily.

Plaintiff's counsel obtained dryer felt machine records that showed Port Townsend Paper used Asten asbestos dryer felts during the years Ernest Coulter would have been working with and around the dryer felts. Mr. Coulter was able to demonstrate to the jury that not only did the felts contain asbestos, but his work with the felts was a substantial factor in causing his asbestos–related illness.

Mr. Coulter was represented by Zachary Herschensohn of the Portland, Oregon office of Brayton Purcell LLP and by Gil Purcell of the firm's Novato, California office.