Tampa jury awards almost $37 million for asbestos plaintiffs

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The Tampa Bay Tribune reports that a Tampa jury awarded nearly $37 million to asbestos plaintiffs in a brake-lining-exposure lawsuit, finding Pneumo Abex LLC 75 percent liable. The jury in the Florida 13th Judicial Circuit Court for Hills­borough County reached the verdict last Wednesday.

Gary Hampton, a former Tampa resident who now lives in Virginia, worked as a mechanic for seven years in the 1970s. He said he was never warned that working with brakes could put him in danger from inhaled asbestos. Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer that eats away the membranes lining the lungs and stomach.  He said he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2013 stemming from his exposure to brake linings made by Pneumo Abex and Ford Motor Co.

Jurors found Pneumo Abex negligent for failing to warn Hampton about the dangers of asbestos-containing brake linings and strictly liable for placing a defective product in the stream of commerce. Pneumo Abex was the lone remaining defendant. Ford Motor reached an earlier settlement.

The verdict was largely due to family circumstances, said Hampton’s attorney, David Jagolinzer  to the Daily Business Review.   Hampton is the caregiver for his 12-year-old adopted niece, and his wife is critically ill with kidney failure. Jagolinzer asked the jury for $32 million.  The defense lawyers did not return calls by comment by deadline, but Jagolinzer said he expects an appeal will be filed.

Jurors awarded $27 million for pain and suffering and $360,000 in medical expenses to Gary Hampton, $3.7 million to Mary Hampton for loss of consortium and $6.1 million to Jasmine Hampton for loss of her father’s comfort and companionship.

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