Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lung casing, so a patient gradually suffocates to death. It is a terrifying, horrible disease. How much should be awarded to a forklift driver who had to unload bags of raw asbestos for six years as part of his job? The jury was faced with that question and awarded $1.2 million to the forklift driver, against Union Carbide which mined and sold the asbestos. Unfortunately, the award came two years after the worker died.
The Plaintiff argued that Union Carbide knew about the link between asbestos and mesothelioma as early as 1967, two years before the forklift driver began working with the product. Incredibly, Union Carbide, instead of stepping up and admitting what they did, tried instead to shift the blame to the forklift driver’s employer. Union Carbide actually argued that it was up to the forklift driver’s employer, National Gypsum, to warn about the risk of asbestos.
If you were on the jury and heard that defense, how would you feel about that argument?
In my opinion, the genius of the jury system in America is that it allows common everyday people like you and me to decide issues like this.