A pool of 40 potential Jefferson County jurors breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday, July 22, when defendants reached a settlement just prior to what likely would have been a protracted asbestos trial.
The case of Belinda Martin vs. Georgia Pacific and Guard-Line was slated for trial in Judge Gary Sanderson's 60th District Court, but the two companies settled for an undisclosed amount before the jury selection process was completed.
Hammering out the deal for Martin was attorney Philip Kanayan of Brent Coon & Associates. The defendants were represented in part by attorney Tracy Richardson of the Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard law firm.
Representing the estate of Charlie Martin, Jr., plaintiff Belinda Martin joined a massive ongoing asbestos lawsuit, Harold Daniels vs. Pittsburgh Corning et al, in July 2005.
The original lawsuit (B150-374) was filed in 1994. It boasts thousands of plaintiffs and has been severed roughly 216 times.
Martin's suit was severed out of the class action in November 2005. Her suit faulted more than 110 defendant companies for the death of Charlie Martin.
Although the settlement amount was not disclosed, plaintiffs from the original lawsuit have won millions of dollars. In 2001, plaintiff Mat Boney was severed out of the class action and granted a trial against Rapid American Corp. Jurors levied a $4 million verdict in Boney's favor.
The original lawsuit faults defendant corporations for negligently manufacturing, selling and using asbestos containing products.
"All of the asbestos products placed into the stream of commerce by the defendants … were defective and dangerous," the suit says. "Defendants were negligent for failing to adequately test their products."
Case No. B150-374BS