A California state appeals court upheld an award of over $11 million to Joseph and Mary Garza. Mr. Garza contracted asbestosis, an incurable lung disease, after being exposed to asbestos in Navy shipyards from the 1940s and 1950s. The jury ruled the company knew about the dangers of the product since the 1940’s and failed to put warnings labels on it until the 1970’s. The couple filed the suit against Asbestos Corp. Lmtd. claiming Mr. Garza now needs an oxygen unit to breathe, can only walk half a block, and is losing his ability to care for his wife, who is totally dependent on him due to her own health problems.
Mr. Garza joined the Navy when he was seventeen and worked for almost a decade repairing ships’ boilers using asbestos products, with no warnings or protective gear. While he was also exposed to asbestos on other jobs, the jury asked Asbestos Lmtd. Corp. to account for seventy-five percent of the responsibility since they made the sealant for the Navy. The appellate court upheld the $11 million dollar verdict with $1.1 million going to Mr. Garza for medical costs and emotional distress, $400,000 going to Mrs. Garza for the loss of her husband’s care and attention, and $10 million in punitive damages against the company.
Gary Kendall and J. Gregory Webb of The Michie Hamlett Lowry Rasmussen & Tweel Firm in Charlottesville, Virginia, currently have multiple asbestos cases arising out of the Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. These cases involve clients who were injured by breathing dust from asbestos products at the Newport News Shipyard. Oftentimes, the workers would take home asbestos on their clothing and expose their family members to asbestos dust, causing illness to the family member, such as the lung disease Mesotheliomal. Manufacturers and the employers knew of the hazards of breathing asbestos dust many decades ago, and yet did little or nothing to prevent such exposure to those using the products or to their employees.