Kaiser Gypsum Inc. Reaches Settlement in Asbestos Case

A plasterer, who worked in and around San Francisco, California for forty-two years, will receive $2.1 million in a recent settlement with Kaiser Gypsum Company and Hanson Permanente Cement, Inc. The plasterer was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2006. In the lawsuit, he alleged that asbestos was an ingredient of the stucco and other plaster products he worked with between 1955 and 1997, which were sold by Kaiser Gypsum and Hanson Permanente. Kaiser Gypsum has been a defendant in several asbestos lawsuits over the past several years. In 1999, a jury in Portland, Oregon, awarded $1.5 million dollars to a former hod carrier diagnosed with asbestosis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer known to result from asbestos exposure. Evidence in the trial showed that Kaiser management was aware of the health risks associated with asbestos exposure no later than 1965, and possibly as far back as 1952. The man had worked as a hod carrier between 1956 and 1986.

More recently in May of 2006, a San Francisco jury awarded a man and his wife $5.9 million after only two days of deliberation. The man, who was not a smoker, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer in January of 2005–both of which were attributed to chrysotile asbestos fibers used in the company’s drywall products. Yet another case was one in which a woman of Dallas County, Texas, sued Kaiser Gypsum over the death of her husband, a former pipefitter who was diagnosed with mesothelioma in January of 2003 and died ten months later. The jury in this case awarded her $650,000 after only seven hours of deliberation. In their verdict, members of the jury found Kaiser Gypsum 100% liable for the man’s cancer and resultant death. It was determined that Kaiser Gypsum had known of the health risks of asbestos exposure as early as 1972, yet deliberately and maliciously failed to take steps in protecting employees. Kaiser Gypsum products now known to have contained asbestos include Finishing Compound and Joint Compound, used in drywall installation.