Jury Awards $8.45 Million in Pipefitter Asbestos Case
The son of a now-deceased, long-time pipefitter has been awarded $8.45 million by a Los Angeles County jury in a case against boiler manufacturer Weil-McLain. It’s believed to be the largest verdict to date against the company, which makes residential, commercial, and institutional boilers and has been doing so since 1881.
They are based in Eden, North Carolina.
Attorneys for Robert Swanson’s family argued that Swanson was regularly exposed to asbestos insulation found on the boilers distributed by the company.
Before he passed away, Swanson told attorneys that the company with which he was employed from 1969 through the 1970s only carried and installed Weil-McLain boilers, hence the reason the company was named in the suit.
According to testimony, Weil-McLain purchased JM 352 insulating cement, which was 100% chrysotile (white) asbestos. A Johns-Manville representative testified to the court that JM 352 bags contained an asbestos warning label that alerted users of the hazard.
He then noted that Weil-McLain repackaged the toxic asbestos insulation, sending it to customers in plain paper bags along with their boilers.
That meant that installers never saw the warning note nor did unsuspecting customers.
Robert Swanson was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2014 and passed away just 16 months later. That’s a typical life span for someone diagnosed with asbestos-caused cancer.
Though some advancement in treatments has resulted in a slightly better prognosis, especially when the disease is caught in its early stages, most victims pass away within a year or two of diagnosis.
Swanson’s case is also typical in that his disease did not appear until some 40 years after he was initially exposed to the hazardous insulation.
Luckily, Swanson was familiar with when and where he was exposed, so he was able to sue for negligent exposure and to secure a future for his family members that were left behind to mourn his death.