Adams v. Consolidated Rail Corp., W Va., Brooke County Cir. Ct., No. 98-C-46 RI, Oct. 13, 2000.
DeMatteis, 63; Knight, 74; Robinson, 64; Shaffer, 55; Clyde Terry, 71; and Monty Terry, 51, were railroad employees who contracted diseases connected to asbestos exposure. Knight suffered from mesothelioma, from which he eventually died. Shaffer eventually died from lung cancer. Both men are survived by their wives.
DeMatteis, Robinson, Clyde Terry, and Monty Terry each contracted asbestosis. DeMatteis and Shaffer had been trainmen, Knight had been a machinist, Robinson had been a trackman, and Clyde Terry and Monty Terry had been carmen.
Robinson incurred lost income of $375,000. No other claims for lost earnings were made.
The men sued four railroads, alleging defendants knew or should have known of the hazards of asbestos and that it was being used where plaintiffs worked.
Plaintiffs claimed defendants were negligent because they failed to (1) provide reasonable warnings to their employees about the dangers of asbestos, (2) provide respiratory protection to plaintiffs, (3) issue proper safety rules, (4) medically monitor their employees, (5) monitor air levels for asbestos in the workplace, and (6) implement a reasonable industrial hygiene program. Defendants also failed to report asbestos-related illnesses to the appropriate federal agency, plaintiffs alleged.
A jury awarded plaintiffs $4.5 million. Robinson and Shaffer each received $1.25 million, Knight received $1 million, Monty Terry received $400,000, and DeMatteis and Clyde Terry each received $300,000. Defendants are jointly and severally liable.
Plaintiffs' experts included Michael Ellenbecker, industrial hygiene, Lowell, Mass.; Raymond A. Harron, radiology, Bridgeport, W Va.; David Laman, pulmonology, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Michael Blatt, pulmonology, Wheeling, W Va.; and James L. Kenkel, economics, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Defendants' expert witnesses in this case included Gregory J. Fino, pulmonology, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Jerome Wiot, radiology, Cincinnati, Ohio; and Larry Liukonen, industrial hygiene, Philadelphia, Pa.
*Mark T. Coulter, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Documents in this case are available through the Litigation Resources section in the back of this issue, courtesy of Mr. Coulter.
Copyright Association of Trial Lawyers of America Aug 2001
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