A San Francisco jury says a bulldozer operator with mesothelioma should be paid $2.2 million for his injuries in what a plaintiff attorney calls the first verdict in the nation involving asbestos exposure from Caterpillar Inc. machinery.
Philip A. Harley of Paul, Hanley & Harley said Caterpillar’s portion of the judgment should be about $900,000 because the jury found it only partially liable.
According to Harley, plaintiff Daniel Johnson was exposed to asbestos from Caterpillar bulldozers while doing brake work and other maintenance. Harley said in a post-verdict statement that Johnson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2004 and was recently told he will only live another three to six months.
AMERICAN companies that produce silica, an ingredient of builder�s sand, have seen a massive surge in lawsuits this year as personal injury and class action lawyers claim that the dusty substance could be as deadly as asbestos.
The number of claims rose to about 30,000 this year from fewer than 10,000 last year. One company, US Silica, has been hit with 22,000 claims, up from 3,505 a year ago.
The Times of London reports this dreadful news here.
What people might not know about Wartnick is that he was colorblind.
“He’d come to the golf course or the office and he’d have on one sock that was bright red and one sock that was bright yellow, and lime green pants,” said Lawther, his former boss. “He was a fashion nightmare. It was the funniest goddamn thing, pardon my language, I’ve ever seen.”
Harry, we hardly knew ye.
“I saw the notice in the union newsletter and said, ‘Why not?'” said an automotive worker from Ford. Sitting on the tailgate of his shiny, new Chevy pickup and lighting a fresh cigarette off the one he had just finished, he added: “It’s better than the lottery. If they find something, I get a few thousand dollars I didn’t have. If they don’t find anything, I’ve just lost an afternoon.”
Standing nearby, a Boeing worker 10 days from retirement volunteered, “The lawyers said I could get $10,000 or $12,000 if the shadow is big enough, and I know just the fishing boat I’d buy with that.”
Asked if he’d ever worked with asbestos, he said, “No, but lawyers say it’s all over the place, so I was probably exposed to it.”
What they don’t realize is that by taking a small payment now, they sign away their rights to sue if they ever really get sick. And they’re sucking up a limited pool of funds that should go to those who really need it. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a long article about it here .