A Florida couple was awarded $70 million in compensation after a Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury heard details of how the 71-year-old husband had been exposed to asbestos while working as a lab technician. The claim was filed by Charles E.
Thornton and his wife Constance against the companies that provided the equipment that he worked with in his 34 years with Nabi Pharmaceuticals. Thornton had been tasked with separating plasma from blood as well as cleaning the biopharmaceutical equipment he worked with. That equipment contained asbestos.
Asbestos is a mineral that was long used to help strengthen and insulate equipment of all types, and it was later shown that asbestos exposure causes malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. When disturbed, the material breaks down easily into microscopic particles that are easily inhalable once they become airborne, and once lodged in the pleural lining of the lungs causes cell damage that leads to cancerous tumors. Asbestos use has been banned in countries all over the world, but its use in the United States continues.
Man Diagnosed With Mesothelioma After Years of Asbestos Exposure From Equipment
After Mr. Thornton was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, he began investigating where his asbestos exposure might have come from, and the only exposure he could identify came from maintaining his separating equipment, which was manufactured by GEA Mechanical US Inc. He filed a product liability claim against the company, arguing that they knew or should have known of the risks posed by their product and failing to properly test it or label it with warnings.
The jury agreed, providing $102,000 to Thornton for past medical expenses, $50 million for pain and suffering, and $20 million to his wife for loss of companionship and consortium. Speaking of the verdict, a family representative said, “The verdict is bittersweet. Obviously, we’re pleased with the results, but the reality is that Mr. Thornton is still suffering from this devastating cancer and it’s ultimately going to take his life.”