$7M Verdict for Family in Take-Home Asbestos Exposure Case

Baggett McCall and Unglesby Law Firm joined forces to win a $7M verdict for family in take-home asbestos exposure case in Louisiana. The case was decided in the family’s favor on April 29, 2016. In this case, the victim was not the asbestos-exposed employee, but rather, his wife.

Jimmy Williams’ wife, Myra, passed away due to mesothelioma, a disease, according to the press release announcing the verdict, which is “exclusively caused by exposure to asbestos.” How then, did Myra Williams develop the disease?

Mr. Williams worked at Placid Oil Company, where he was exposed to asbestos in his daily duties. He was responsible for removing insulation and changing gaskets on Ingersoll-Rand compressors. This meant he was crawling all over the asbestos-insulated (and covered) machinery. According to the verdict, “This caused asbestos dust and fibers to accumulate on his clothing, which he wore home on a daily basis to be laundered by Myra Williams.”

During the trial, Ingersoll-Rand was found to be liable for causing Myra Williams’ mesothelioma and, ultimately, her death. According to the press release, Ingersoll-Rand knew, as far back as the 1950s, that asbestos was dangerous but failed to put warnings on its asbestos-insulated compressors. Workers from Placid Oil testified that removing the insulation, in combination with the compressors’ vibrations, created clouds of asbestos dust that were “visible to the naked eye” in the compressor room.

Due to the lack of warnings, workers such as Jimmy Williams didn’t know that they were in danger from the asbestos insulation. Nor did they know that the asbestos collected on their clothing was putting their families in danger.

Each of the four children got $750,000 compensation for Myra Williams’ death. Lance Unglesby of the Baton Rouge-based Unglesby Law Firm said, “Myra’s children were extremely close to her, and it was an honor to represent them.”

Jeff Gaughan, a partner with Baggett McCall Law Firm based in Lake Charles, said, “Take-home asbestos exposure will continue to harm families across America due to the negligence of companies that failed to properly protects workers. We are honored to have represented the Williams family and proud to bring them justice for their unimaginable grieving, pain and suffering.”

This isn’t the first time that the firms have teamed up and won victories for asbestos victims. They won the two highest survival action mesothelioma verdicts in Louisiana. Survival actions are similar to wrongful death actions. However, whereas wrongful death actions allow the estate to be granted damages for the deceased’s beneficiaries, survival actions permit the estate to receive damages that the decedent could have receive had they survived. These damages include pain and suffering and lost earnings.

One of the two cases, Dorothy White, v. Entergy ended with a $3.8M verdict. The other, Sadie Mae Terrance v. Exxon, ended with a $5M verdict. The first asbestos case decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court was one of Baggett McCall’s. Baggett McCall also holds the record for the largest cancer verdict in the state at $17M.


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