P.I. Pulse: an Asbestos Award and a “Monster” Lawsuit

Jul. 29th, 2013   /   ,

 

This blog chronicles the personal injury legal paths of two women, one of whom recently received a major award for harm she has suffered, and the second of whom, who, following the death of her young son, filed a lawsuit against a major company, one which we’ve written about before.

Let’s begin with the woman who recently received justice in the amount of $27 million. The woman’s husband, in the 1950’s, worked for a company that installed insulation. Day in and day out, he would go to work, install insulation materials on the job site, and return home, at which point his wife would clean his clothing for him. Now in her eighties, his wife suffers from mesothelioma, a grave form of lung cancer that is caused by an exposure to asbestos. Following the detection of the cancer and the cognitive linking of the asbestos-caused cancer and the insulation materials with which her husband worked in the 1950’s, the woman and her husband sued the company that manufactured the insulation products. They, through their attorney, argued that the company had been negligent; their attorney posited that the company knew as early as the 1930’s that the asbestos exposure could be fatal. Furthermore, and perhaps more shockingly, the company had advertised the insulation products as being “non-toxic,” with no mention of the fact that hazardous asbestos was a component of the product.

The jury in the case sided with the woman and her husband and awarded $12 million for the woman’s injuries, $4 million for her husband’s loss of consortium (the benefits of a marriage which were lost due to his wife’s illness), $342,000 in economic damages and an additional $11 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages award stemmed from the jury’s understanding that the company had consciously withheld information about the health hazards inherent to their insulation practices and thus acted with malice and/or fraud toward the plaintiff.

In our next case, we hope the jury will be just as understanding. A woman, whose 19-year-old son died from cardiac arrhythmia (a disruption of the heart’s normal rhythm) has sued the beverage company Monster Beverage Corp. The plaintiff contends that her son’s unfortunate death was the result of routine consumption of Monster energy drinks, drinks which, as we have discussed previously on this website, have a wildly unsafe high sugar content (in addition to other unsafe ingredient cocktails). The lawsuit posits that the 19-year-old would not have died, were it not for the fact that he consumed two cans of Monster energy drink every day for the three years preceding his death.

The lawsuit that the grieving mother has filed is not unprecedented. Last year, after a 14-year-old girl died following the consumption of two cans of a Monster energy drink, the deceased’s parents sued the beverage corporation. While the lawsuit brings up the issue of personal responsibility, and the recognition that habitual, unsafe consumption of any product can be damaging to one’s health, corporate responsibility must remain part of the equation. Companies must be responsible for – and held liable for – the products that they release out into the open market. We will let you know what happens with this terribly unfortunate case.

For questions about these or any other personal injury issues, please reach out to us at 561-266-9191 or daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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