Vickie Warren, the daughter of a former Utah home builder has just received $5.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages from a mesothelioma settlement.
The Salt Lake City jury concluded that Vickie Warren should receive the sum from building manufacturing companies Georgia-Pacific and Hamilton Materials, and asbestos mining company Union Carbide after being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. The disease can take 15-40 years to appear and often starts in the lungs (pleural mesothelioma) or the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma).
Victims only average about 1 year of life post-diagnosis. Ms. Warren suffered her asbestos exposure as a teen growing up in Provo, Utah. She would work alongside her father, a Geneva Steel employee, who also built homes on the side. To smooth out joints on walls, he unknowingly used an asbestos-containing joint compound. Ms. Warren’s father would shave down the walls down while she cleaned up the dust and debris left behind.
This process released microscopic asbestos fibers into the air which embedded in Ms. Warren’s lungs after being inhaled. Ms. Warren is currently very ill from the asbestos exposure so her story was recounted to the Deseret News by one of her mesothelioma attorneys, Bob Gilchrist.
Because many asbestos manufacturers knew the potential hazards yet concealed this information from the public, the area of mesothelioma law has evolved to help compensate victims. In this particular case, the jury awarded $1.4 million in economic damages and $3.7 million in non-economic damages.
Gilchirst has stated that the $5.2 million award following the 6 week trial may be the largest mesothelioma verdict ever in Utah or the surrounding states and is a victory for not just himself and Warren, but for other mesothelioma victims as well.