Rhoda Evans, wife of retired DWP worker Bobby Evans, was diagnosed with mesothelioma after years of washing Mr. Evans’ clothing that had been coated daily in asbestos fibers. For nearly 25 years, Mr. Evans unknowingly worked cutting cement water pipes that contained asbestos and brought these dangerous fibers home with him on his clothing. Certain Teed Corporation, the supplier of the asbestos cement pipes, neglected to warn consumers of the risks in using their products containing harmful substances.
Certain Teed Corporation had known about the risk factors of working with asbestos materials since the 1960′s, yet never placed warning labels on their products until 1985. By 1985, it was too late for Rhoda Evans, who now suffers from a life-threatening, incurable cancer.
Mrs. Evan filed suit against the Certain Teed Corporation with the following accusations:
Certain Teed actually concealed the risk of asbestos exposure from DWP officials “in an effort to protect the $40 million in annual revenues the company made on selling asbestos-containing cement pipe to the county.”
The LA Department of Water and Power was also held partially responsible for the compensatory portion of the award for its failure to adequately protect Bobby Evans on the job.
Mrs. Evans was awarded $8.8 million for compensatory damages and an additional $200 million to be paid by the Certain Teed Corporation for punitive damages. Attorney’s for the Corporation feel that the punitive damages award is unconstitutional and plan to appeal the verdict.
Since 1929, an estimate of 600,000 lawsuit have been filed for mesothelioma and asbestos disease. Whether the punitive damage award is lessened in the case of Mrs. Evans is unknown; however, it is expected to encourage manufacturers to settle such cases out of court, as opposed to trying them before a jury. Hopefully, this message sent by the jury will resonant among the manufacturing community as well: if you are aware of potential dangers to the users of your product, you better warn people about that danger while you are taking pr0active steps to correct it!