Oregon Jury Awards Carpenter $8.75 Million for Asbestos-Connected Cancer

The victim alleged exposure to asbestos at work by breathing fibers released from sanded spackling compound.

A Multnomah County Circuit Court jury after an almost month-long May 2016 trial awarded a 65-year-old retired carpenter suffering from fatal mesothelioma $8.75 million in damages in his personal injury lawsuit. According to The Oregonian, the plaintiff alleged that his cancer was caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers after drywall workers sanded down a joint or spackle-like compound made by Kaiser Gypsum that had been spread on walls at Portland construction sites during the 1970s.

Mesothelioma, a deadly and excruciating asbestos-caused cancer of the lining of the lungs and of other organs caused by asbestos exposure, can take decades to develop in patients. Reportedly, the plaintiff in this case was only able to attend the trial for a day or so before he had to be hospitalized for treatment of his cancer symptoms.

The Oregonian reported further that the victim's cancer was only discovered last year and he has already had one lung removed to prolong his life, which is expected to last another 18 months at most. The judge reportedly told the jurors that without mesothelioma, the plaintiff's life expectancy would have instead been 17 more years.

A review of the plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for Damages shows that he brought a strict liability claim for the sale of "unreasonably dangerous and defective" products without adequate warning, instructions or notice. The lawsuit also alleged negligence for failing to warn of the danger of the product, failing to instruct users to use respiratory protection equipment, failing to adequately test the work environment for asbestos levels, and for making and selling a product with asbestos when the maker knew or should have known of its danger to health.

The jury award consists of these particular damages:

  • $750,000 in medical expenses
  • $4 million for pain and suffering
  • $4 million for the plaintiff's wife of four decades, his college sweetheart, for her suffering now and in the future

In addition to his wife, the plaintiff's family consists of three children and several grandchildren.

The article says that evidence was submitted at the trial that the manufacturer knew of the health dangers of asbestos "as early as 1965," the decade before the plaintiff alleged he was exposed at work.

While not mentioning Kaiser Gypsum, a June 2016 blog published by Huffington Post and written by Alex Formuzis of the EWG Action Fund, an asbestos advocacy organization, details evidence of decades of corporate cover-up of the health dangers of asbestos by companies that mined or used asbestos in products.

Anyone suffering from mesothelioma, asbestosis or another asbestos-related disease should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible about potential legal remedies.

The lawyers of Brayton Purcell, L.L.P., with offices in California, Utah and Oregon represent clients in asbestos-related personal injury lawsuits across the country.