June 11, 2013

Oakland jury awards $11M in punitive damages against Owens-Illinois

Law 360 reports (subscription required) that a jury in Alameda County has awarded $16.3 million in compensatory damages and $11 million in punitive damages against Owens-Illinois Inc. 

The plaintiff claims she developed mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to asbestos fibers while shaking out and washing her husband's clothes.  It is not clear to what extent such "take home" claims are viable in California.  Last year the Second Appellate District, Division Seven, ruled that Ford could not be liable to a plaintiff who claimed she developed mesothelioma as a result of her exposure to asbestos fibers from laundering her father's and brother's clothes after they worked as independent contractors installing asbestos at a Ford manufacturing plant. (Campbell v. Ford Motor Co.)  Related issues are pending before the First Appellate District, Division Three, in Kesner v. Pneumo Abex and before the Second Appellate District, Division Three, in Petitpas v. Borgwarner.

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