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Attorneys prepare appeal against $75 million asbestos verdict

By April Brown | Apr 2, 2017

Asbestos 10

HOUSTON – Attorney James Powers of Powers Law Firm in Houston has stated that his client and co-defendant in a $75 asbestos suit, Dana Cos., will retain appellate counsel for post-trial proceedings.

The $75 million asbestos exposure verdict awarded was to a Long Island, New York couple Marlena and Edward Robaey after a two-month trial. On Jan. 20, a six-member jury sided with the couple, represented by attorney Danny Kraft Jr. of Weitz & Luxemberg in New York, handing down a verdict that divided the financial liabilities among the remaining defendants in the suit to Dana Cos. for 40 percent and Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust for 30 percent. The jury awarded $50 million to Marlena Robaey for pain and suffering and $25 million to Edward Robaey for loss of consortium. According Weitz & Luxemberg, the verdict is the largest single asbestos verdict ever awarded in New York.

Attorney Peter York – a senior partner at Hawkins Parnell Thackston and Young in Atlanta – along with his case partner Ollie Harton, recently confirmed that their client, Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust, also is planning an appeal against the verdict. Federal Mogul represents Felt Products Manufacturing Co., producer of Fel-Pro engine gaskets.

The Robaey’s original suit alleged that Marlena Robaey contracted malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lungs and abdomen, through asbestos exposure. Edward Robaey’s work as a mechanic often exposed him to asbestos dust that would fall from worn gaskets as he removed them from engines. The theory was that the fibers remained in his clothing, and Marlena Robaey breathed them in while doing laundry.

As a racing enthusiast, Edward Robaey also worked on cars in their home garage, where Marlena Robaey often assisted him and swept up dust that contained asbestos. At the time, neither of them were aware that the dust was a carcinogen, they claimed, because there were no warning labels on the gaskets or packaging that indicated there was a danger.

Marlena Robaey was diagnosed in November 2012 with mesothelioma, and she remains in hospice care for the disease. 

Two companies originally listed in the suit, Cleaver Brooks Co. and Crane Co., settled for an undisclosed amount prior to the end of the two-month long trial. The verdict listed these two companies at 10 and 20 percent, respectively.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Madden has scheduled deadlines for appeal briefs, which will lead to oral arguments scheduled for September.

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Organizations in this Story

TexasPowers Law Firm