SIX ASBESTOS companies have been convicted by a Baltimore Circuit Court jury in what is expected to be a model for the over 100,000 asbestos personal injury claims pending before federal and state courts across the United States.
The decision that all six defendants were responsible for manufacturing products they knew or should have known were dangerous and failed to issue proper warning about their hazards could now set the stage for over 8,500 former steel and shipyard workers from around Maryland to receive compensation for lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.
The trial had started with more than 100 defendants but the list got whittled down to the six who were convicted of which only four were found liable for punitive damages. Some of the defendants are said to be holding settlement talks.
The judgement could lead to millions of dollars settled in damages. In the first such case the jury this fortnight awarded US$ 11.2 million in compensatory damage to three victims. The case should warn asbestos manufacturers in India to take heed before it is too late.
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