Jury Renders $5.2 Million Verdict in Utah Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case
Salt Lake City, UT — May 12, 2010 — A Salt Lake City jury ruled in favor of Vickie Warren, in her trial against two product distributors and a former mining and manufacturer of raw asbestos fiber. The jury determined that joint compounds manufactured by defendants Georgia–Pacific, LLP and Hamilton Materials, Inc., which used Union Carbide Corporation's open asbestos fiber products, were defectively designed and contained a "failure to warn" product defect. The jury assessed over $1,400,000 in economic damages and over $3,700,000 in non–economic damages.
At trial, defendants argued that their asbestos products simply could not have caused Ms. Warren to develop mesothelioma, due to it being in her abdomen. Through testimony presented at trial, products by Georgia–Pacific, Hamilton Materials and Union Carbide were found to be substantial factors in causing her mesothelioma cancer. Ms. Warren has been battling cancer since her diagnosis of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in July, 2007. Mesothelioma is a rare disease that often arises in the pleural lining of the chest cavity, but in Ms. Warren's case arose in the linings of her abdominal cavity.
As a teenager and young adult, Ms. Warren worked with her father, helping him build homes and rental duplexes. She was exposed to asbestos–containing joint compounds that were used throughout the homes. The products were used to seal seams on wallboards, ceilings and floorings used in the homes. In addition she lived in one of the homes for over 14 years.
Defendant Union Carbide was a leading miner and manufacturer of Calidria asbestos from its King City mine in California. They supplied asbestos to manufacturers of various products including floor tile, epoxy adhesives, sealants and wall board joint and taping compounds. Defendant Hamilton Materials is a California company that sold building materials and products in the 11 western states, including asbestos containing Red Dot joint compound. Defendant Georgia–Pacific is a national company that sells building materials that at one time included Bestwall joint compound, which contained asbestos.
"We are very gratified with the jury decision and thankful for their efforts to reach the right result for Vickie Warren," said mesothelioma attorney Gilbert Purcell of Brayton Purcell LLP. "She is a wonderful, deserving woman whose life has been horribly affected by the Defendant's asbestos products." Mr. Purcell, of Eisenberg represented Vickie Warren.
The trial was presided over the Honorable Glenn K. Iwasaki of the Third District for Salt Lake County. Defendant Union Carbide Corporation was represented by Peter Bicks and Morton Dubin and Kristen Fournier of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP. Hamilton Materials, Inc. was represented by Thomas G. Scully and Heather L. Nicolette of Walsworth, Franklin Bevins & McCall. Georgia–Pacific, LLP was represented by Mel Bailey of Bailey Crowe & Krugler.