This is an asbestos mesothelioma cancer case review. The lawsuit originated after twelve plaintiffs, including named Executors of several deceased plaintiffs, contended their exposure to asbestos over prolonged periods of time resulted in serious bodily injury and death.
All twelve plaintiffs contended they contracted asbestos cancer while working at their respective jobs for the defendant. The defendant corporation disputed the plaintiffs' allegations by contending the injuries and deaths of the plaintiffs occurred over a fifty year time span and as such amounted to only .09 percent of the defendant's entire workforce during that same period.
The twelve plaintiffs worked for the defendant Nationwide Standard at four of Nationwide's six warehouses. The plaintiffs were employed by Nationwide over a period of fifty years. Although nine of the plaintiffs worked at essentially the same jobs, none of them was employed by Nationwide during the same period of time. Of the remaining three plaintiffs none were employed by Nationwide at the same warehouse or at the same type of job during the same period of time.
Medical evidence at trial confirmed each of the twelve plaintiffs was either suffering from the asbestos mesothelioma cancer, or had died from the disease. The ages of the plaintiffs ranged from 42 to 64 years.
Before the start of the trial, Nationwide's attorneys, sensing the highly prejudicial effect the wheelchairs, autopsies, and other very graphic testimony from the plaintiffs and their families would have on the jury, filed a Motion for a Change of Venue.
In its Motion, Nationwide argued the plaintiffs' appearances in wheelchairs with oxygen tanks attached, along with the plaintiffs' families emotional testimony would not be probative, but instead would be unfairly prejudicial. Nationwide's attorneys requested the trial be moved upstate approximately 110 miles from the county in which the lawsuit was presently filed. The court denied the Motion.
During trial the plaintiffs' attorneys collectively called over 34 witnesses. The trial lasted for over four months. During that time numerous medical experts were called to testify for the plaintiffs. Their testimony was essentially the same; that each plaintiff was either presently suffering from asbestos mesothelioma cancer or had died from the complications of the disease. The experts also testified that the asbestos located in the plaintiffs' work environment at Nationwide directly and proximately caused their injuries and death.
The trial included the emotional testimony of family members who identified the deceased in open Court together with stories of their prolonged and painful deaths. The testimony also came from several plaintiffs who spoke with great discomfort from their wheelchairs. The testimony recounted the financial hardships many of the plaintiffs and their families were suffering.
Each living plaintiff confirmed the presence of asbestos in the workplace at Nationwide.
Nationwide offered the following evidence in their defense, through witness testimony and certified business records. That testimony including the following:
The jury deliberated for 8 days. During that time they asked the court for parts of the testimony of various doctors, asbestos specialists and three of the plaintiffs. They also asked for various exhibits which were admitted into testimony.
In the Jury Charge the Court instructed the jury to consider the following questions while deliberating on their verdict:
On the eighth day the jury returned its verdict. They found as follows:
"As to question number 1, we find all plaintiffs shared a common worksite and that worksite was the property of the defendant Nationwide.
As to question number 2, we find all plaintiffs were engaged in similar occupations.
As to question number 3, we are unable to determine if any of the plaintiffs were exposed to asbestos for a similarly identifiable period of time.
As to question number 4, we find all plaintiffs suffered from the same type of asbestos cancer.
As to question number 5, we find the cause of the plaintiffs' cancer to have been caused by the defendant Nationwide.
As to question number 6, we find all of the plaintiffs' injuries were caused from the asbestos located on the defendant Nationwide's property.
As to question number 7, we find the injuries and deaths of all plaintiffs were a direct and proximate result of the defendant Nationwide's negligence."
The jury went on to award specific amounts to each of the twelve plaintiffs. The estates of the deceased plaintiffs were awarded an average of $413,000, while living plaintiffs received an average of $742,000 each. The total amount of the award was $13,532,000.
*This case example is for educational purposes only. It is based on actual events although names have been changed to protect those involved. Any resemblance to real persons or entities is purely coincidental.
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