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From Products Liability Law Daily, September 18, 2013

Worker awarded $10 million for asbestos-exposure injuries; manufacturing companies to pay punitive damages

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

A jury in Richland County, South Carolina, awarded a worker $10 million in actual damages and ordered two equipment manufacturers to pay $11 million each in punitive damages (Garvin v. AGCO Corp., Judgment entered September 17, 2013, Jury verdict entered September 11, 2013, Hill, G.). The jury also awarded the worker’s wife $1 million for loss of consortium and ordered a third equipment manufacturer to pay $5 million in punitive damages.

Background. The worker, Lloyd Strom Garvin, alleged in his complaint that he had been exposed to asbestos and asbestos-containing products and equipment while working on his family farm and in the course of his duties while working in various jobs including heavy equipment operator, millwright worker, furnace worker, and carpenter’s helper and foreman. The worker further claimed that as a result of breathing dust from asbestos and asbestos-related materials, he developed mesothelioma and other industrial dust diseases.

Allegations. The worker’s complaint stated products liability and breach of warranty actions against the defendants. Specifically, the worker alleged that these products were defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous and that the companies which caused the asbestos and asbestos-related products to be placed into the stream of commerce and those that sold these products and caused them to be placed in buildings and on job sites failed to warn workers like himself of the health risks of exposure to these products. The worker also alleged that the defendants had actual knowledge of the dangers of asbestos exposure yet “deliberately, intentionally and purposefully withheld” that information from the worker.

Jury verdict. The jury found in favor of the worker on all counts, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and awarding his wife $1 million for loss of consortium. The jury also assessed punitive damages in the amount of $11 million each against two defendants that manufacture pumps and valves—Crane Company and Durco International. Byron Jackson Pump Company, another manufacturer of pumps and valves, was ordered to pay $5 million in punitive damages.

The case number is: 2012-CP-40-6675 (Jury Verdict Form) (Complaint).

Attorneys: Theile Branham McVey (John D. Kassel, Attorney at Law, LLC) for Garvin. Jennifer M. Techman (Evert Weathersby Houff) and Mark H. Wall (Wall Templeton & Haldrup, P.A.) for AGCO Corporation. Tim Bouch (Leath Bouch & Seekings LLP) for Durco International and Bryon Jackson Pump Company. Terry Budd (K&L Gates) for Crane.

Companies: AGCO Corporation; Crane Company; Durco International; Byron Jackson Pump Company

MainStory: TopStory DesignManufacturingNews WarningsNews DamagesNews AsbestosNews SouthCarolinaNews

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