Philadelphia, PA— A jury has awarded two families a total of $17 million in an asbestos-related mesothelioma lawsuit.
The families had sued several manufacturers of asbestos products, including John Crane, Inc. and Garlock Sealing Technologies, in order to hold them responsible for the deaths of two men. Each man suffered, and died, from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare but aggressive cancer which is nearly always caused by exposure to asbestos.
John Crane, a manufacturer of seals, gaskets and packing material, agreed to a settlement before the verdict was announced. The amount of that verdict is confidential.
Attorneys for Garlock argued that the gaskets manufactured by the company could not have led to the mesothelioma diagnoses, despite the fact that the gaskets contained up to 90 percent asbestos. Yet a document that Garlock had attempted to exclude from the trial was allowed as evidence, and showed that the company had admitted its asbestos-containing gaskets could cause mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.
Garlock manufactured gaskets, asbestos cloth, packing material and other items between 1907 and 1980. Asbestos was popular during this period because of it versatility; it could be woven into cloth, spun into yarn, added to plastics and other materials, and used to create insulation. Despite its fire- and heat-resistant nature and its strength and durability, however, asbestos can lead to the aggressive cancer mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs and chest cavity.
There is no cure for mesothelioma, which typically claims the lives of those affected within 18 months of the diagnosis. Some 2,000 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with the cancer in the United States each year. Many lawsuits are filed each year in an attempt by patients or their families to recover some of the costs associated with medical treatment and lost wages, as well as compensatory damages.