A San Francisco, California jury has ordered an asbestos manufacturer to pay more than $7 million in damages for exposing a onetime film actress and singer to the fibers that caused her terminal cancer while she was working in a home-remodeling business with her husband. The state court jury awarded Joan and Daniel Mahoney $20 million in damages and assigned 30% of the responsibility to Georgia Pacific Corp., the only defendant in the trial. The company most likely will be ordered to pay a slightly higher proportion of the award, $7.1 million, under the rules on shared liability under California law. The rest of the damages will go unpaid. The plaintiffs previously reached confidential settlements with other manufacturers. The verdict is one of the largest ever in an asbestos case.
The plaintiffs moved to South Lake Tahoe in the late 1960s and started a part-time remodeling business. The products they used included an asbestos compound made by Georgia Pacific to fill cracks in sheetrock. The lawsuit claimed that the company continued making the compound long after learning that asbestos could cause cancer and competitors found substitutes. The use of asbestos was stopped only after the federal government outlawed asbestos products in 1977. The couple filed suit in 2006 after Joan Mahoney was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Doctors then gave her no more than nine months to live. Currently, at age 69, she is living in pain from the disease while also caring for her husband of 42 years, who suffered a stroke last year.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
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