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Second Hand Asbestos Exposure Verdict $27M

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An Ohio jury has found for a man who developed mesothelioma from secondary exposure to asbestos fibers, which were carried home on his father’s clothes when he was a child.  The jury awarded $27.5 million in damages.

asbestos mesothelioma cancer attorneyJohn Panza, 40, and his wife, Jane, filed a mesothelioma lawsuit against Kelsy-Hayes Co., which used to be known as National Friction Products.

Panza’s father, John Sr., brought home asbestos dust on his work clothes during 31 years of working at the Eaton Airflex brake company. The asbestos exposure came from brake pads manufactured by National Friction Products. John Panza, Sr., died of lung cancer in 1994, and his son was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos Link

Mesothelioma is a cancer, which is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and inhaling asbestos fibers.  It is a fatal disease that is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy.

In Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, a jury returned a verdict of $27.5 million in damages, including $515,000 in economic damages and $12 million in non-economic damages awarded to John Panza, as well as $15 million awarded to his wife for loss of consortium. The verdict is believed to be the largest of its kind in Ohio history.

While 40% of the liability in this recent case was placed on Eaton Airflex, which has immunity under Ohio law, Kelsey-Hayes is fully responsible for the entire damages. The company is expected to appeal.

Mesothelioma litigation is the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a lawsuit against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with cancer that was caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

Recently there have been a number of mesothelioma lawsuits brought following second hand exposure, with wives, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.