Four-Month Long Asbestos Trial in New York Ends in $12.5 Million Award for Plaintiffs

An asbestos trial that began in November of 2013 and ended on March 18 of 2014 resulted in a $12.5 million award in damages for three families.  The three plaintiffs – Harry Brown, Patrick McCloskey, and Carl Terry – were all diagnosed with mesothelioma before they individually filed lawsuits.  Because all of their claims were largely similar, the suits were consolidated to save time.

The Plaintiffs

Harry Brown was employed as an insulator and built power houses for Consolidated Edison Co. of New York in the 1950s and 1960s.

Patrick McCloskey was a steamfitter who worked on the construction of the World Trade Center.  His estate alleged that he was exposed to asbestos through the fireproofing spray that was applied during the construction process.

Carl Terry was an electrician who worked with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 Union.  During his career, he worked at job sites all throughout New York.  His estate alleged that he was exposed to asbestos through electrical components manufactured by Eaton Corp. and Cutler Hammer Inc.

Consolidating the Cases

Consolidating the three cases saved much time during the trial process for many reasons.  First, although some of the smaller details may differ slightly, all three cases were factually similar for the most part.  This provided many logistical advantages, such as allowing experts to testify once for all three cases instead of being called to the stand for essentially the same line of questioning three separate times.

The plaintiffs were represented by the firm of Weitz & Luxenberg, and a representative of the firm, Danny Kraft, Jr., commented that he believed the trial process would have taken over a year if the cases had not been consolidated.

The Judgment

The trial started out with 30 defendants, and because of the high number of defendants, the opening statements consumed an inordinate amount of time.  Eventually the pool of defendants was reduced to just a handful that shouldered the impact of the $12.5 million judgment.

Brown’s estate was awarded $3.5 million after the jury found Con Edison 30 percent liable.

For McCloskey, the jury found Mario & DiBono Plastering Co. to be liable for applying the asbestos spray that exposed McCloskey and assigned 25 percent of the liability to them.  The other defendants particular to Brown and McCloskey’s cases – The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Tishman Realty and Construction – were found to be not liable.  In total, McCloskey’s estate received $6 million.

In Brown’s case, Mario & DiBono along with Con Edison was found to be not liable.  Only Eaton and Cutler Hammer were found liable and assigned 15 percent liability, granting Terry’s estate $3 million.

Exposed to asbestos?

If you have been exposed to asbestos, you may be at risk of developing serious health conditions, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.  You may benefit from consulting an attorney.  Contact an experienced asbestos attorney today to discuss your options.


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