Verdict awarded to Illinois widow in mesothelioma lawsuit

November 28th, 2006

An Illinois court has awarded $850,000 to the widow of a former builder and inspector in her mesothelioma lawsuit against Honeywell International Inc. The verdict was the third in the last 14 months against the company. A total of $11 million has been awarded in the three mesothelioma lawsuits.

From 1953 until 1960, Robert Blessing worked at Union Asbestos and Rubber Co. (Unarco) as a builder and inspector of pipe covering. Blessing alleged in his mesothelioma lawsuit that Honeywell hid the dangers of asbestos exposure from workers and placed them at risk of receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. When airborne asbestos is inhaled, it can lead to mesothelioma symptoms.

After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis in June 2005, Blessing died from his mesothelioma symptoms that December. The recent verdict against Honeywell was the result of a mesothelioma lawsuit which he filed before his death. Some of the co-defendants in Blessing’s mesothelioma lawsuit had already agreed to settlements with other companies.

Blessing’s mesothelioma lawyer says that Honeywell deliberately hid the dangers of asbestos exposure from its employees. “[Honeywell] told the jury that they didn’t know about the harmful effects of exposure to asbestos until 1972, and that they told workers after that,” Blessing’s mesothelioma attorney says. “The only reason they told people after ’72 was because OSHA [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration] came out and said they had to tell people.”

A crucial piece of evidence in Blessing’s mesothelioma lawsuit was a memo between employees of Bendix Aviation Corp., a Honeywell subsidiary, and Johns-Manville Corp. “The Bendix employee told the Manville employee he was sending him an article about the harmful effects of exposure to asbestos,” says Blessing’s mesothelioma lawyer. “And he said, ‘My answer to the problem is this: If you have enjoyed a good life working with asbestos, why not die from it?”

A jury in the same county where Blessing filed his mesothelioma lawsuit awarded the widow of Merlan Dukes, who also worked at Unarco, a $5 million verdict in October 2005. In October 2006, the wife of John Hoogerwerf was awarded a $5.5 million verdict in another mesothelioma lawsuit. Hoogerwerf received a mesothelioma diagnosis after installing insulation manufactured by Bendix which contained asbestos.

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