Products Liability Law Daily Auto mechanic and his wife awarded $34M in asbestos exposure case against Ford
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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Auto mechanic and his wife awarded $34M in asbestos exposure case against Ford

By Kathleen Bianco, J.D.

Ford Motor Co. deemed 100 percent liable for auto mechanic’s asbestos-related mesothelioma.

A Los Angeles jury awarded $34 million to an auto mechanic and his wife. The mechanic was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer, after years of work-related exposure to asbestos in brakes manufactured by Ford Motor Co. After finding Ford 100 percent responsible for the mechanic illness, the jury awarded $4.5 million in compensatory damages to the mechanic and $4 million in loss of consortium damages to his wife. The verdict also included $25.5 million in punitive damages, according to a press release issued by the law firm representing the plaintiffs (Putt v. CBS Corp., August 30, 2019).

Complaint. According to the lawsuit, the injured man was diagnosed with mesothelioma, which allegedly was caused by his repeated exposure to asbestos-containing brakes manufactured by Ford while he worked at service stations in Southern California and Indiana in the late 1960s and 1970s. The complaint asserted that the brakes manufactured by Ford contained asbestos and that the manufacturer failed to warn users of the dangers associated with asbestos.

Jury findings. The jury found in favor of the couple, awarding compensatory damages along with damages for the wife’s loss of consortium. Following a four-week trial, the jury concluded that Ford had failed to warn users of the dangers of asbestos in its brakes and that the company’s failure had been the cause of the man’s injuries. The jury further determined that because Ford acted with fraud, oppression, and malice, the imposition of punitive damages was warranted, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Damages. The verdict awarded $4.5 million to the husband as compensatory damages, $4 million to his wife for her loss of consortium, and $25.5 million in punitive damages.

The case is No. 18STCV06912.

Attorneys: Jennifer Alesio, Daniel P. Blouin (Simmons Hanly Conroy) and John Richardson for Arthur and Janet Putt. Robert Thornburg (Frost Brown Todd LLC) and Addie Ries (Smith Anderson) for Ford Motor Company.

Companies: Ford Motor Co.

MainStory: TopStory JuryVerdictsNewsStory DamagesNews WarningsNews AsbestosNews CaliforniaNews

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