$5.8 Million Verdict Affirmed in Asbestos-Causing Mesothelioma Wrongful Death

A jury found that the mesothelioma contracted by James Lester Phillips was caused in part by exposure to asbestos contained in Bendix brakes. In an appeal, Honeywell challenged the $5.8 million awarded to Phillips’s wife and surviving children.

In the published portion of the appellate opinion, the court rejected Honeywell’s claims of evidentiary error, concluding that the trial court properly admitted a 1966 letter of a Bendix employee sarcastically addressing an article in Chemical Week magazine that stated asbestos had been accused, but not yet convicted, of being a significant health hazard.

The court reasoned that the letter was circumstantial evidence relevant to the issue of Bendix’s awareness of asbestos’s potential to cause cancer. The court noted that Illinois and Florida cases holding admission of this letter was prejudicial were distinguishable because they did not include the important limiting instruction to the jury.

The court also concluded that the trial court properly admitted the testimony of the plaintiffs’ expert about causation and the contributions to Phillips’s risk of cancer from every identified exposure to asbestos that Phillips experienced.

The court rejected Honeywell’s remaining contentions in the unpublished portion of the opinion. Accordingly, the appellate court affirmed the judgment.

Phillips v. Honeywell International, Inc., In the Court of Appeal of the State of California, F070761, (March 17, 2017)

Robert D. Kreisman and Kreisman Law Offices have successfully handled mesothelioma cases, wrongful death cases and work injury cases for individuals, families and loved ones for more than 40 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding counties and municipalities including Chicago Ridge, Orland Park, Bensenville, Elk Grove Village, Countryside, Willowbrook, Itasca, Chicago (Archer Heights, Brighton Park, Andersonville, Wrigleyville, Chinatown, Lake Calumet, Old Town, West Loop, Near South, Bronzeville), Cicero and Robbins, Ill.

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