The jury in Busbey v. ESAB Group has awarded a deceased factory worker’s wife and family $1.7 million in what was the first asbestos case tried against an employer in the Keystone State. According to the plaintiff’s attorney, Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyer, Ben Shein of Shein Law, this is the first time in Pennsylvania that there has been a verdict against an employer in an asbestos-related claim.
The state Supreme Court recently ruled that employees could pursue claims and try cases against their employers when previously, the employers could only be held liable through the Workers’ Compensation Act. Shein noted this case and others against employers are different than products liability cases which typically have multiple defendants.
The jury awarded $1,000,000 to the worker’s wife and an additional $700,000 to the estate of the deceased worker under the Wrongful Death and Survival Acts. The former employer, The ESAB Group, Inc., (owner of the Alloy Rods plant in Hanover, Pa.) was found to be fully liable for Mr. Busbey’s mesothelioma and his wrongful death.
This ruling shows that asbestos claims are worth taking to court, according to Attorney Shein. In November 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the Workers Compensation Act does not properly cover occupational diseases that are diagnosed over 300 weeks after employment ends. This decision was made in Tooey v AK Steel and has since opened the door for plaintiffs to seek compensation from their former employers.
Busbey had been diagnosed with mesothelioma in January 2012 when he was 72 years-old, and died seven months later in July of the same year. Radiology studies from 2008 and 2009 showed pleural plaque and thickening around his lungs; additional studies in 2011 and 2012 directly linked the findings to asbestos exposure. The ESAB Group argued all evidence that the illness was linked to asbestos exposure was speculation. The company also asserted that the plaintiff did not show how much exposure there was to lead to causation, and that the three former employees that testified were not knowledgeable enough to determine potential asbestos exposure.
After three weeks of trial in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the jury found ESAB Group negligent, and also established that Busbey had not been comparatively negligent. The jury also did not find Ross Ovens, a manufacturer of some of the ovens in question, liable under a theory of products liability which was pursued by the defense.
Shein noted that evidence between the 1980s and 2000s of asbestos surveys, remediations and abatements in the plant was helpful in convincing the jury of ESAB’s negligence .
Ben Shein tried the case with attorney Bethann Kagan and was assisted by attorneys Brooke Kravitz and John Kopseky.
Philadelphia Asbestos Lawyers at Shein Law Defend Victims of Asbestos-Exposure and their Families
Philadelphia mesothelioma lawyers at the Shein Law fight for victims and their families in asbestos exposure cases. With their most recent win of $1.7 million in the first asbestos-related claim won against an employer in the state of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia asbestos lawyers continue to fight for the rights of those harmed by the negligence of their current or former employers. With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey we help mesothelioma victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-877-SHEINLAW (743-4652) or contact us online.