$60 Million in Asbestos Case Verdict
The heirs of a Brooklyn man who did demolition work on single-family homes throughout the 70s and 80s have been awarded $60 million in a court of law.
A Manhattan jury has determined that Pietro Macaluso’s life had been cut short by exposure to toxic asbestos when he died in July 2016 at the age of 56.
Macaluso sued three companies in this asbestos exposure case about a year before his death, the New York Post reports. His attorneys claimed that he was exposed to the toxin whenever he ripped out boilers that were covered with asbestos insulation.
The companies named in the lawsuit included A. O. Smith Corporation, Peerless, and Burnham Commercial.
The $60 million award, the article reports, will be split between Macaluso’s pair of 11-year-old twins and his girlfriend, Mary Murphy-Claggett.
“Pietro was a great man and nobody should have to go through what he went through,” Murphy-Clagett told the newspaper. “Nothing can bring him back and I’d do anything to never have had this happen, but I’m glad justice was served.”
During the lengthy nine-week trial, the family’s attorney argued that the boiler companies had certainly been familiar with the dangers of asbestos and asbestos-containing insulation, yet they did nothing to warn end users of their products about these hazards.
“Many of the defendants had safety precautions in their own factories to protect [employees] against the dangers of asbestos but they were not passing those warnings on to people like Pietro Macaluso,” explained the attorney. “As a result, he never had an opportunity to protect himself.”
The laborer had been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2015 and succumbed to the disease just a year later. As part of the evidence in the case, the attorney showed a video of Macaluso on his deathbed. The video revealed a skinny and frail man who was clearly suffering.
He also thinks the jurors “responded” to his request for damages for emotional pain and suffering after watching Macaluso “saying goodbye to his kids and knowing that they would grow up without a father.”
A.O. Smith and Burnham have not commented on the verdict as of yet. Peerless has stated that they will appeal what they believe to be an exorbitant award in the plaintiff’s favor.