Paint Maker Gets $22 Million in Asbestos Talc Case
The family of a California man who worked as a paint maker and tinter for Dexter-Midland Chemical Company in the Northern California town of Hayward has been awarded $22 million in a case that determined his mesothelioma-related death was due to his on-the-job exposure to asbestos-tainted talc.
The award included $4.5 million in punitive damages.
Richard Booker, who died in 2016, was employed by Dexter-Midland from 1972 until 1993. He was regularly exposed to the talc, which is used in paint making in order to deter grease and oil absorption.
He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in mid-2015 and passed away less than a year later.
The case was lodged against both Vanderbilt Minerals and Imerys Talc America, who supplied the talc products used by Booker’s employer.
The court determined that both companies had failed to disclose the presence of asbestos in their products, hence workers were unaware that they were inhaling toxins as they performed their job-related tasks each day.
Imerys was made to pay 40 percent of the award while Vanderbilt was shouldered with the remaining 60 percent.
In their deliberations, the jury on the case determined that “decisions associated with use of talc in the workplace environment were made by those at the highest level of management” and that the companies knowingly put Booker and others at risk without their knowledge.
It was also determined that no precautions were taken to shield the plaintiff (and others) from ingesting asbestos particles.
As is typical, it took more than 40 years from first exposure for Booker to develop mesothelioma cancer. This is because the disease has a long latency period and symptoms do not appear until decades after exposure.
When it becomes evident that an individual has mesothelioma, the disease has often progressed into its later stages and is difficult to treat.
At that point, prognosis is grim, and even with advances in treatment, the victim often dies within a year of diagnosis, as Booker did.
At that point, the only option for compensation is for the victim’s family to sue the company or companies responsible for his/her exposure to asbestos.
If negligence can be proven, family members will likely be given a monetary settlement, which can help pay outstanding medical bills, make up for loss of income, and can address a number of other financial needs as well.