Mesothelioma Victim Awarded $7 Million for Asbestos Exposure in ’60s

A state Supreme Court jury has awarded $7 million to plaintiff Ralph North, who was exposed to asbestos during construction of the Northport Power Station in the mid- to late-1960s and diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2012. The verdict determined the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) to be 100% liable for Mr. North’s illness. National Grid, acting as the primary defendant, took over the LILCO plants, including the Northport Power Station, in 2007.

Mr. North worked installing boilers at the plant, but, as witness and former LILCO employee Richard Gallagher testified, the company never warned about the dangers of breathing asbestos, nor was the air quality monitored in any way.

The $7 million for which National Grid is responsible breaks down to $3.5 million for pain and suffering, and another $3.5 million for future pain and suffering. Regarding the decision, National Grid argued that the jury got it wrong, writing in a statement, “While we sympathize with Mr. North and his family, we strongly believe [the] verdict is not supported by the facts and does not meet the legal standards applied to such cases. We believe we have strong legal and factual arguments to overturn this decision, and we will review our legal options including appeal.”

Asbestos exposure is the primary cause of mesothelioma, a preventable type of cancer that has an extremely high mortality rate. Despite a ban on asbestos that began in the 1970s, there are approximately 3,000 mesothelioma diagnoses made each year.

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